Paris: President Emmanuel Macron is projected to suffer a major blow, with his centrist alliance failing to keep its outright majority in the French parliament, following an unexpected surge in support for the far-right in Sunday’s election.
The group of parties headed by Macron, called Ensemble!, is set to win 200 to 260 seats out of 577 in the final round of the legislative ballot according to projections by five pollsters.
At least 289 seats are needed for an absolute majority.
With no group of parties near an outright majority, Macron may be able to keep control of the executive branch but will have a hard time passing legislation, putting much of his second-term agenda at risk.
The second-largest group in parliament looks on track to be Nupes, a leftist coalition led by Jean-Luc Melenchon, which is set to get 149 to 200 seats, according to the pollsters. The far-right National Rally, helmed by Macron’s presidential rival Marine Le Pen, is projected to get 60 to102 seats, while the centre-right Republicans and their allies are set to get 60 to 80.
If confirmed, a hung parliament would open up a period of political uncertainty that would require a degree of power-sharing among parties not experienced in France in recent decades, or else result in political paralysis and even possibly repeat elections.
Macron’s ability to pursue further reform of the euro zone’s second-biggest economy would hinge on his ability to rally moderates outside of his alliance on the right and left behind his legislative agenda.
In April, Macron, 44, became the first French president in two decades to win a second term, but he presides over a deeply disenchanted and divided country where support for populist parties on the right and left has surged.