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Macron threatens to lose majority to left-wing coalition in first round of parliamentary elections

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Macron’s centrist alliance risks losing majority to the left-wing coalition in the first round of parliamentary elections, which saw fewer HALF of eligible voters, poll finds

  • French President Emmanuel Macron hurt by low voter turnout
  • An Ipsos poll suggests he’s neck and neck with left-wing alliance Nupes
  • Less than half, 47 percent, of voters went to the polls today

Fewer than half of those eligible to vote bothered to vote in the first round of today’s French parliamentary election, as Emmanuel Macron’s bid to gain a majority in the National Assembly is challenged by a left-wing coalition.

When polls closed at 8pm on Sunday, a record abstention rate of nearly 53% was estimated, with Macron’s party struggling to secure a majority in the National Assembly with 577 seats in Paris.

Instead, a poll by Ipsos put Macron’s centrist alliance, Ensemble (Together) neck and neck with a left-wing coalition known as the Nupes, for the new popular Ecological and Social Union.

Both grand coalitions took 25.2% of the vote, representing about 255 to 295 seats for Macron’s group, and 150 to 190 for the left winger.

According to an Ipsos poll, French President Emmanuel Macron (photo entering the voting booth) was hurt by a record number during the first round of French parliamentary elections today.

Sunday’s first round saw more than 6,000 candidates, and those who get the most votes will move on to the second round in a week’s time.

Mr Macron was re-elected president in May for a second five-year term and now wants to continue with business-friendly tax cuts and an increase in the retirement age from 62 to 65.

But the polls suggest the president and his allies may struggle to win more than half of the parliamentary seats to gain an absolute majority with 289 seats.

This means that Mr Macron’s En Marche ! (On The Move!) party will have to negotiate with other parties to get legislation through.

Macron's main opposition is the left-wing coalition Nupes, led by Julien Bayou (photo voting today)

Macron’s main opposition is the left-wing coalition Nupes, led by Julien Bayou (photo voting today)

The Nupes coalition is made up of greens, communists and other radicals led by leftist instigator Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

If Mr Mélenchon’s group gains a majority, he will become prime minister, creating a difficult situation known as ‘cohabitation’.

This means that France is governed by a president who does not share the same ideology or manifesto as the prime minister.

Mr. Mélenchon and his leftists want to lower the retirement age and generally increase workers’ rights over large companies.

The far right, led by Marine Le Pen’s National Rally party, is hoping to do better than it did five years ago, when it won just eight seats when it was dubbed the National Front.

Sunday’s projection suggested the National Rally could win between 20 and 45 seats. It hopes to win at least 15 seats this time so it can form a parliamentary group.

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