France votes, with Macron facing a tough battle for control of parliament

  • Voting projections are expected at 1800 GMT
  • Macron needs 289 seats for an absolute majority in parliament
  • Pollsters say it may fall short as smaller parties make gains
  • A minister has already been eliminated in a vote abroad

PARIS – June 19 (Reuters) – Voting was taking place in France on Sunday in a parliamentary election that could deprive newly-elected centrist President Emmanuel Macron of the absolute majority he needs to govern with a free hand.

Initial projections were expected at 8pm (6pm GMT) of the election which could change the face of French politics.

Turnout at noon was slightly stronger – 18.99% – than at the same time during a first round of voting last Sunday and that of 2017, when it only reached 18.43% and 17.75 % respectively.

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Macron won a second term in the April presidential election. If Sunday’s vote does not give his party an absolute majority, it will open a period of uncertainty that could be resolved with a degree of power-sharing between parties unheard of in France in recent decades, or cause political paralysis and repeat parliamentary elections. The line. Read more

Pollsters predict that Macron’s camp will end up with the most seats, but say there is no guarantee that it will reach the 289 threshold for an absolute majority.

Opinion polls also suggest that the far right will achieve its greatest parliamentary success in decades, while a broad left-green alliance could become the largest opposition group and conservatives stand as creators of kings.

In the city of Sèvres, on the outskirts of Paris, where light rain was eased after a major heat wave hit France on Saturday, some voters said they were motivated by environmental concerns to vote for the alliance. left of Nupes.

“For the past 5 years, the presidential majority has not been able to meet the challenges of climate change; the current heat wave makes you want to support environmental projects even more,” Leonard Doco, a student, told Reuters 21-year-old filmmaker. .

Others said they did not trust left-wing bloc leader Jean-Luc Melenchon, who has campaigned under the slogan “Choose me prime minister” and vowed to reduce the retirement age from 62 to 60. prices and prohibit companies from firing workers if they pay dividends.

“Melenchon is a hypocrite. He makes promises that he can’t stand. Retiring at 60 is impossible,” said Brigitte Desrez, 83, a retired dance teacher who voted for Macron’s party.

A voter casts his vote in the second round of the French parliamentary elections at a polling station in Vire-Normandie, France, on June 19, 2022. REUTERS / Stephane Mahe

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Overnight, the results of the French overseas departments brought bad news for Macron, with the loss of his Minister of Maritime Affairs in his constituency of the Caribbean. About 15 government ministers are running in this election and Macron has said they will have to resign if they lose.

REJUVENATED LEFT

Macron seeks to raise the retirement age and pursue its pro-business agenda and greater integration into the European Union.

After electing a president, French voters have traditionally used the legislative polls that follow a few weeks later to grant him a comfortable parliamentary majority, with François Mitterrand in 1988 a rare exception.

Macron and his allies could still achieve this.

But the rejuvenated left is facing a difficult challenge, as inflation puts the cost of living concerns at the forefront of the minds of many voters.

If Macron and his allies lose an absolute majority by just a few seats, they may be tempted to hunt down center-right or conservative parliamentary poachers, party officials said.

If they lose it by a wider margin, they could seek an alliance with the Conservatives or lead a minority government that will have to negotiate laws with other parties on a case-by-case basis.

Although Macron’s camp wins an absolute majority, it is likely thanks to its former prime minister, Edouard Philippe, who will ask for more voice on what the government is doing.

Despite Sunday’s vote, the president is likely to enter a new period of having to make more commitments, after five years of unquestionable scrutiny since his first election in 2017.

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Additional report by Michel Rose Written by Ingrid Melander Edited by Raissa Kasolowsky and Frances Kerry

Our standards: Thomson Reuters’ principles of trust.

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