Centrist Ensemble party backing president ekes out win over left-wing coalition, with 2nd round of voting to be held this weekend.
President Emmanuel Macron won a razor-thin majority in the first round of legislative elections in France on Sunday.
The president’s Ensemble movement faced off against the NUPES (New Ecological and Social Popular Union), a coalition of the Socialist, Communist, EELV Greens, and France Unbowed parties led by Jean-Luc Melenchon.
Results published by the Interior Ministry indicate Ensemble’s win of 25.75% of the votes vs. the NUPES 25.66%, a matter of 21,000 ballots, according to news outlet Radio France International.
The second round of elections for the National Assembly, the government’s lower parliamentary house, will be held this Sunday, June 19.
Macron held a strong majority in his center-right party but knew he was up against stiff competition from the left-wing group of parties that had banded together to oppose his pro-business agenda.
There are 577 seats in the National Assembly, and even though the head of state is well-positioned and has enough backing to win a large majority of those seats, polls indicate that Macron could easily lose his grip in the second round if voters do not cast ballots in his direction.
Coming in third place with 18.68% of the votes was the National Rally, the right-wing party led by Marine Le Pen with whom Macron faced off in the presidential elections in April.
According to an IPSOS/Sopra Steria poll, Le Pen’s party is projected to win a number of seats – anywhere from 20 to 45. They currently hold only eight seats in the National Assembly. Additional seats will give the National Rally a legislative advantage in the house.
The Republicans won 10.42% of the votes on Sunday, the party that was at one time the stronghold in France and was most recently led by Valerie Pecresse in the presidential race.
There was record low turnout in the weekend elections, with just 52.49% of eligible voters casting a ballot. A majority win in Sunday’s runoff will be 289 out of 577 seats.