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Chairman and Chief Editor
Bedour Ibrahim
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A hung parliament would severely dent President Emmanuel Macron's authority

France voter turnout high، with far right seeking power

Sunday 07/July/2024 - 04:27 PM
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Voter turnout in France's parliamentary run-off election on Sunday rose sharply from the last time in 2022 in a ballot that could see the far-right National Rally (RN) emerge as the strongest force.

Although the RN is expected to win the most seats in the National Assembly، the latest opinion polls indicated it may fall short of an absolute majority.

A hung parliament would severely dent President Emmanuel Macron's authority and herald a prolonged period of instability and policy deadlock in the euro zone's second-biggest economy.

The first far-right government

Should the nationalist، eurosceptic RN secure a majority، it would usher in France's first far-right government since World War Two and send shockwaves through the European Union at a time populist parties are strengthening support across the continent.

Turnout stood at 26.3% by around noon (1000 GMT)، up from 18.99% during the second voting round in 2022، the interior ministry said، highlighting the population's extreme interest in an election that has highlighted polarised views in France.

It was the highest midday turnout level since 1981، pollster Harris Interactive and Ipsos said.

Voting closes at 6 p.m. (1600 GMT) in towns and small cities and 8 p.m. in bigger cities. Pollsters will deliver initial projections based on early counts from a sample of voting stations at 8 p.m.

"The country is facing three radically opposed views of society"، said Olivier Grisal، a retiree، as he walked towards his polling site in the middle-class town of Conflans Sainte-Honorine، west of Paris، with his wife.

"There's the far right، there is Macronism which in my view has also dangerous and has dictatorial tendencies and then there's the left which is also not great،" he said.

Opinion polls forecast Marine Le Pen's RN will emerge the dominant force in the National Assembly as voters punish Macron over a cost of living crisis and being out of touch with the hardships people face.

However، the RN is seen failing to reach the 289-seat target that would outright hand Le Pen's 28-year-old protégé Jordan Bardella the prime minister's job with a working majority.

The far right's projected margin of victory has narrowed since Macron's centrist Together alliance and the left-wing New Popular Front (NPF) pulled scores of candidates from three-way races in the second round in a bid to unify the anti-RN vote.

"France is on the cliff-edge and we don't know if we're going to jump،" Raphael Glucksmann، a member of the European Parliament who led France's leftist ticket in last month's European vote، told France Inter radio last week.