FRANCE: French President Emmanuel Macron was in danger of falling short of a parliamentary majority after a first round of voting on Sunday, with some polling firms seeing his centrist alliance scoring less than the 289 seats required.
Macron’s Ensemble (Together) alliance ran neck-and-neck with a new leftwing alliance, NUPES, with both scoring around 25-26 percent of the popular vote.
Extrapolating from these figures, polling firms projected that Ensemble would win 225 to 310 seats in the second round of voting next Sunday, possibly short of a majority.
NUPES, a newly unified leftwing alliance of leftists, Socialists, Greens and Communists, was seen as winning 150 to 220 seats, making them by the far the biggest opposition force in parliament.
If Macron’s coalition falls short of a majority, it is expected to lead to messy bill-by-bill deals with right-wing parties in parliament, or he would have to try to poach opposition or independent MPs for his political grouping.
Sunday’s vote followed Presidential Elections in April in which Macron secured a second term, beating far-right leader Marine Le Pen with pledges to cut taxes, reform welfare and raise the retirement age to 65 for most people.
After a dismal performance in that vote, the French left has united behind Jean-Luc Melenchon, a hard-left veteran who has a radically different programme, including lowering the retirement age, wealth taxes and hiking the minimum wage by 15 percent. Turnout was on course to be a record low of 47 to 47.5 percent, polling firm projections showed.
The record-low turnout of below 50 percent is set to confirm the trend of dwindling interest for parliamentary elections over the past 20 years.
– RADIO FRANCE INTERNAIONAL