France votes in second round parliamentary elections

France votes in the second round of parliamentary elections on Sunday. The run-off votes are for the top candidates from last Sunday’s first round.

President Emmanuel Macron is hoping to obtain a strong mandate in parliament to help him pursue his reform plans.

His La République en Marche (Republic on the Move or LREM) with its MoDem allies is expected to win most seats.

Traditional parties are urging voters to back Mr. Macron’s rivals to stop a monopolisation of power.

President Macron formed his party just over a year ago, and half of its candidates have little or no political experience.

They include a retired bullfighter, a Rwandan refugee and a mathematician.

A party needs 289 seats to control the 577-seat National Assembly. LREM is predicted to win more than 400.

First round votes

In the first round Mr Macron’s LREM and MoDem won 32.3% of the vote.

The centre-right Republicans had 21.5%, while the far-right National Front (FN) had 13.2%, followed by the far-left La France Insoumise (France Unbowed) on just over 11%.

The Socialists, previously France’s ruling party, and their allies won just 9.5%.

However, the turnout was low, despite claims that President Macron had re-energised the voting public.

Analysts said it reflected a sense of resignation among his opponents.

Second round

Only four seats were settled in the first round.

The second round will see the two top-placed contenders for each seat facing each other, along with any other candidate who won the support of at least 12.5% of registered voters in the district.

Challenges for Macron

Mr. Macron, 39, defeated Marine Le Pen in the presidential run-off in May.

He needs a majority to push through the changes that he promised in his campaign, which include:

  • Budget savings of €60bn (£51bn; $65bn) in the next five years
  • Cutting the number of public servants by 120,000
  • Reforming the labour market and generous state pension schemes, bringing them into line with private schemes

 

Zainab Sa’id