France heading to polls in high-stake parliamentary elections | World News

Voters have gone to the polls for the second time in France in crucial parliamentary run-off elections that threaten political deadlock.

While Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally party is expected to win most votes, it faces falling short of a majority.

This raises the prospect of a hung parliament, denting the authority of President Emmanuel Macron.

Image:
Pic: Reuters

If the National Rally does secure an absolute majority, the French leader could find himself forced into a difficult “cohabitation” with the country’s first far-right government since the Second World War.

Read more:
Who are National Rally?

The crunch vote comes as Paris prepares to host the Olympic Games.

Ms Le Pen’s party won the biggest vote share in the first round of France’s parliamentary elections.

But her hopes of a majority in the National Assembly seem less certain after centrist and left-wing candidates pulled out of races to boost the chances of their moderate rivals to block the far-right.

Emmanuel Macron arrives to attend a press conference about the priorities of his Renaissance party and its allies ahead of the early legislative elections in Paris, France.
Pic: Reuters
Image:
Emmanuel Macron faces being weakened. Pic: Reuters

Mr Macron called the snap vote after his centrist alliance was soundly beaten in the European elections by the National Rally earlier this month.

France has a semi-presidential system, which means it has both a president and a prime minister, who have separate powers.

The voting taking place on Sunday will determine who is prime minister but not president, with Mr Macron already set on remaining in his role until the end of his term in 2027.

National Rally figurehead Marine Le Pen and the party's president Jordan Bardella. Pic: AP
Image:
Marine Le Pen pictured with Jordan Bardella. Pic: AP

If Ms Le Pen’s party wins an absolute majority, France would have a government and president from opposing political camps for only the fourth time in post-war history.

Her 28-year-old protégé Jordan Bardella would be prime minister if the party wins outright.

He has has enjoyed a spike in popularity, particularly among younger voters on TikTok, amid increasing discontent with Mr Macron.

Voters across France and overseas territories can cast ballots for 501 of the 577 seats in the National Assembly, the lower and most important of France’s two houses of parliament.

The other 76 races were won outright in the first round.

Voting opened in mainland France at 8am (7am UK time) and will close 12 hours later when the first exit polls are expected.

Follow Sky News on WhatsApp
Follow Sky News on WhatsApp

Keep up with all the latest news from the UK and around the world by following Sky News

Tap here

France’s modern Republic has experienced three cohabitations, the last one under conservative president Jacques Chirac, with socialist prime minister Lionel Jospin, from 1997 to 2002.

The prime minister is accountable to the parliament, leads the government and introduces legislation.

The president is weakened at home during cohabitation, but still holds some powers over foreign policy, European affairs and defence and is in charge of negotiating and ratifying international treaties.

The president is also the commander-in-chief of the country’s armed forces, and holds the nuclear codes.

A hung parliament and the need to build cross-party consensus to agree on government positions and legislation would be challenging given France’s fractious politics and deep divisions over taxes, immigration and Middle East policy.

It would likely derail Mr Macron’s reform plans and make passing a budget more difficult.

malek

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

GreenLeaf Tw2sl