France votes in crucial second round of parliamentary elections

World Sunday 19/June/2022 17:38 PM
By: DW
France votes in crucial second round of parliamentary elections

Voters in France headed to polls on Sunday for the final round of parliamentary elections that could change the face of French politics.

The high-stakes election pitches President Emmanuel Macron's centrist grouping against a newly formed left wing alliance led by Jean-Luc Melenchon.

Voting started at 8 a.m. (0600 GMT), with initial projections expected to come in at 8 p.m. (1800 GMT), right after polls close.

Opinion polls suggest that Macron's coalition Ensemble will receive the most seats in the next National Assembly, but possibly fall short of the 289 seats needed for an absolute majority.

Far-right leader Marine Le Pen is also looking at major gains for her National Rally party, which had just eight seats in the outgoing parliament.

Projections from pollsters show that the far right is likely to see its biggest parliamentary success in decades while the left-green alliance NUPES could find itself becoming the largest opposition group.

Projections show the conservatives likely becoming kingmakers.

How it works?

In the first round of elections, held last weekend, Ensemble was ahead of NUPES.

However, the vote was neck and neck and the left-wing alliance presented a challenge to Macron with 25.66% of popular votes nationwide against Ensemble's 25.75%.

But as per France's electoral system, the outcome will only be decided in Sunday's polls when two top candidates from nearly all 577 constituencies face off.

Macron's agenda at stake

The vote comes on the heels of presidential elections in April that saw Pro-European Macron retaining power for a second term.

The vote is crucial for Macron who is looking to push through his second-term agenda, which includes welfare reform, promised tax cuts and a rise in the retirement age.

But in order to govern with a free hand and maintain full control of his reform agenda the 44-year-old needs to win a majority in the lower house of parliament.