France votes, Macron faces a fierce battle for control of parliament

  • Voting forecasts are expected at 1800 GMT
  • Macron needs 289 seats for an absolute majority in parliament
  • Polls suggest he will fail because small parties make a profit
  • One minister has already been ousted from the foreign vote

PARIS, June 19 (Reuters) – France voted on Sunday in a parliamentary election that could snatch the absolute majority needed for a newly elected centralist president, Emmanuel Macron, to rule with an independent hand.

Preliminary predictions from an election that could change the face of French politics were expected at 8pm (1800 GMT).

During the first round of voting last Sunday and in 2017, the turnout in the afternoon was slightly stronger – 18.99% than at 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 camp an absolute majority, it will open a period of uncertainty that can be resolved through devolution of power unheard of in France over the past decades – or a political stalemate and re-election. Tax. read more

Polls predict that Macron’s camp will end up with a large number of seats, but that reaching the 289 threshold for an absolute majority is by no means guaranteed.

Opinion polls suggest the far-right is likely to win the biggest parliamentary victory in decades, while a broad left-green coalition could become the largest opposition party and the Conservatives can see themselves as kingmakers.

In the city of Sevres, just outside Paris, light rain provided some relief after a major heat wave hit France on Saturday, with some voters saying environmental concerns had prompted them to vote for the Nupes left-wing coalition.

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“In the last 5 years, the majority of the president has not been able to meet the challenges of climate change – he wants to support more of the current heat wave environmental projects,” 21-year-old filmmaker Leonard Togo told Reuters. .

Others said they did not trust Jean-Luc Mன்சlenchon, the leader of the left-wing coalition that campaigned under the slogan “elect me prime minister,” who promised to lower the retirement age from 62 to 60 and freeze prices. Companies should be barred from firing workers if they are paid dividends.

“Mெlenchon is a hypocrite. He makes unfulfilled promises. It is impossible to retire at age 60,” said Brigitte Dres, 83, a retired dance teacher who voted for Macron’s party.

Overnight, the decisions of France’s foreign ministry brought bad news to Macron, who lost his Minister of Maritime Affairs in his Caribbean constituency. Macron has said about 15 government ministers are running in the by-elections and will have to resign if they lose.

Revived left

Macron is raising the retirement age and seeking to pursue its pro-business agenda and EU integration.

After the election of the President, the French electorate traditionally used legislative votes to give him a comfortable parliamentary majority a few weeks later – in 1988 Franோois Mitterrand was a rare exception.

Macron and his allies can still achieve that.

But the resurgent left poses a serious challenge because inflation puts cost-of-living concerns in the minds of many voters.

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If Macron and his allies lose an absolute majority in a few places, they could be induced to hunt down middle-right or conservative MPs, party officials said.

If they miss it by a wide margin, they can seek an alliance with the Conservatives or form a minority government that will negotiate laws with other parties on a case-by-case basis.

Even if Macron’s camp wins an absolute majority, it may be thanks to his former prime minister, Edward Philip, who wants to say more about what the government is doing.

Despite Sunday’s referendum, the president is entering a new era of more compromises after five years of undeniable control after his first election in 2017.

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Additional report by Michael Rose by Ingrid Melander Editing by Raisa Kasolovsky and Frances Kerry

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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