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Macron faces tough battle for control of parliament after first round vote

Macron faces tough battle for control of parliament after first round vote

June 14, 2022: -President Emmanuel Macron faces a tough fight to win an absolute majority in parliament that would allow him to govern with a free hand after a strong showing by a new left-wing alliance in Sunday’s first-round election.

Initial estimates by Elabe put the hard-left veteran Jean-Luc Melenchon’s NUPES bloc neck-and-neck with Macron’s Ensemble! alliance in the first round, with 26.20% and 25.8% respectively.

Elabe projected Ensemble would go to win between 260-300 parliament seats – with the mark for an outright majority set at 289 seats – on June 19 and forecast the left would secure 170-220 seats, a big increase from 2017.

With rampant inflation driving up the costs of living and eroding wages, Macron has struggled to build on his re-election in April, with Melenchon casting him as a free-marketeer more intent on protecting the wealthy than hard-up families.

“In view of this result, and the extraordinary opportunity it offers us and the destiny of the common homeland, I call on people next Sunday to defeat the disastrous politics of the majority, of Macron,” Melenchon said after the vote.

With the two-round system, which is applied to 577 constituencies across the country, the popular vote in the first round is a poor indicator of who will eventually win a majority the following week.

At stake is Macron’s ability to pass his reform agenda, including a contested pension reform that would see the French work longer, which he says is necessary to ensure long-term order to the public finances.

His opponents on the left are pushing to cut the pension age and launch a big spending drive. Melenchon’s bloc has capitalised on anger over surging living costs and Macron’s perceived weakness at connecting with ordinary people.

Government insiders expected a relatively poor showing in Sunday’s first round for Macron’s coalition.

A record number of voters abstained, pollsters projected, with more than half of all registered voters staying away from polling stations on a hot, sunny Sunday.

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