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Le Pen’s party to fall short of a historic milestone – French election exit poll

The left-wing New Popular Front (NFP) appears to have come out on top, but only by a small margin, in the landmark contest

France faces a hung legislature, with no party set to win an outright majority in the second round of the parliamentary election, local media reported on Sunday, citing the first preliminary estimates provided by the Ipsos Talan polling agency. 

The right-wing National Rally party (RN) linked to Marine Le Pen, which emerged as the frontrunner last weekend with 37 seats, is forecast to finish third this time, with between 132 to 152 seats.

The New Popular Front (NFP) is likely to fail to secure an absolute majority in the legislature as it is expected to win between 172 and 192 seats in the second round, according to the estimates. It had previously secured 32 mandates in the 577-strong National Assembly in the first round last weekend.

The left-wing coalition is closely followed by President Emmanuel Macron’s liberal Ensemble coalition, which is reportedly expected to land between 150 to 170 seats in the second round.

The turnout this weekend is estimated to have been 67.1%, according to Ipsos Talan, which would be the highest since 1997, if confirmed.

Macron called early parliamentary elections in the wake of the RN’s strong performance in the European Parliament elections in early June. Members of the National Assembly are elected in single-seat constituencies through direct voting in two rounds. A candidate can win outright in the first round if they get over half of the vote. If none achieves this feat, any candidate reaching the 12.5% threshold enters the second round.

Ahead of this weekend’s vote, Macron’s Renaissance party and the NFP resorted to what the media called “tactical withdrawals.” As many as 200 candidates from the president’s party and the left-wing coalition withdrew from the second round to avoid splitting the vote between them, and to prevent the RN party from getting an absolute majority (289 seats) in the parliament.

 

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