Macron seeks majority in parliamentary vote as left rises to challenge

Composition of the outgoing French parliament, ahead of the parliamentary elections on 12 and 19 June.

French voters cast their votes on Sunday in the first round of parliamentary elections, where President Emmanuel Macron hopes to win a majority to pursue his reformist agenda against a resurgent and newly united left seeking to thwart its ambitions.

The elections for the 577 seats in the National Assembly in the House of Commons are a two-round process, with the shape of the new parliament only becoming clear after the second round on 19 June.

After a dismal performance in April, the French left has united in a coalition for what its leader Jean-Luc Melenchon calls “the third round” of the presidential election.

– ‘Gardening instead’ –

At 5pm (1500 GMT), voter turnout was 39.4 percent, according to an estimate by the Interior Ministry, 1.3 points less than the same point in the last parliamentary election in 2017.

If the president’s alliance maintains an overall majority, Macron can continue to rule as before.

A victory by the left alliance — considered unlikely by analysts — would spell political disaster for the president by evoking the specter of an awkward “society” — where the prime minister and president come from different factions.

Melenchon, a former Marxist, has already made clear his ambition to become prime minister, thwarting Macron’s plan to raise the French retirement age, a key part of his reform plans.

Polls have indicated that Macron’s alliance is expected to win the largest number of seats, but is by no means certain that they will reach the 289 mark for an absolute majority.

While Macron and his European Union allies breathed a deep sigh of relief after his solid, if unspectacular, presidential victory over far-right leader Marine Le Pen, recent weeks have not brought a sense of honeymoon.

His new Disabled Minister Damien Abad has faced two rape charges – which he has vehemently denied – while new Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne has yet to take effect.

Macron’s party and its allies currently hold an absolute majority of 345 seats in the 577-seat assembly.

Otherwise, the top two candidates in a constituency, as well as any other candidate who has won the support of at least 12.5 percent of registered voters, advance to the runoff election, where the candidate with the most votes wins.

Originally published as Macron seeks majority in parliamentary vote as left rises to challenge

Leave a Comment