France votes in second round of legislative elections
Voting has started in France in the second round of the legislative elections, with most experts predicting a landslide majority for president Emmanuel Macron’s political formation Republic on the Move (LREM).
This has prompted fears of a “one party system”, the opposition, both left and right, being totally laminated in the first round on 10 June.
Turnout could fall to a record low, in a sign of voter fatigue after seven months of roller-coaster campaigning and voting, and of disillusionment with politics that could complicate Macron’s reform drive.
Macron’s centrist LREM party is barely more than a year old yet pollsters project it will win as many as 75-80 percent of seats in the 577-seat lower house.
Many of its lawmakers will be political novices, something which will change the face of parliament at the expense of the conservative and socialist parties which have ruled France for decades.
One of the challenges for Macron as he sets out to overhaul labor rules, cut tens of thousands of public sector jobs and invest billions of public cash in areas including job training and renewable energy, will be to keep such a diverse and politically raw group of lawmakers united behind him.
The conservative The Republicans are expected to be the biggest opposition group in parliament. But polls see them securing no more than 90-95 seats out of 577.
Some Republican lawmakers could create a separate group to back Macron on a case-by-case basis, while others may see a future firmly in the opposition.
The Socialist Party, which ruled France until last month, faces a humiliating defeat which could see them with no more than 25-35 seats.
The election also spells trouble for the far-right National Front (FN), seen with only between one and six seats when earlier it had hoped to secure a “massive” presence in parliament. Its leader, Marine Le Pen, is expected to be among those who will be elected.
Far-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon is also seen winning a seat in parliament. But polls are unclear if his France Unbowed party will reach the 15-strong threshold required to be able to form a parliamentary group.
Polling stations close at 6:00 p.m. local time in small and medium towns and at 8:00 p.m. local time in Paris and other big cities. At that time, opinion polls will give an estimate of the outcome and official results will start trickling in.
OTHER FRANCE NEWS