Macron coalition outstrips rival left by slim margin

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Marine Le Pen’s hard-right National Rally was third with 21.48 per cent, while the conservative Republicans lagged behind with 11.04 per cent…reports Asian Lite News

The Ensemble coalition of French President Emmanuel Macron has outpaced the rival New Popular Environmentalist and Social Union (Nupes) of Jean-Luc Melenchon by a slim margin.

Ensemble was polling at 24.54 per cent after 64 per cent of ballots cast in the first tour were counted, according to figures published by the Interior Ministry. Nupes came second with 22.28 per cent.

Marine Le Pen’s hard-right National Rally was third with 21.48 per cent, while the conservative Republicans lagged behind with 11.04 per cent.

Nearly 6,300 candidates are vying for 577 seats in the lower-house National Assembly. The voting takes place over two consecutive Sundays. The turnout was 39.42 per cent as of 5 pm, lower than the figures recorded at this time in four previous parliamentary elections.

Macron is at risk of losing his outright majority after the strong challenge from the coalition of left-wing parties, the BBC reported.

Centrist Emmanuel Macron won a second term in April, but without a majority in the Assembly he will struggle to push through reforms. He intends to raise gradually the retirement age from 62 to 65, while Mélenchon vows to lower it to 60.

Although Ensemble won 25.75% of the vote, marginally ahead of the left’s 25.66%, it was still projected to dominate the National Assembly. TF1 pollster Ifop gave Ensemble 275 to 305 seats, with the green-left alliance on 175-205. Ipsos for France Télévisions said Mr Macron’s alliance was heading for a lower 255-295 seats and the left 150-190.

Turnout was the lowest in modern French history. Many voters clearly decided to take advantage of the sunny weather across France, with temperatures in Paris hitting 27C. But so far the election campaign has largely failed to spark into life.

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