French election exit polls: Macron’s Ensemble wins most seats after first round

The first exit polls after the opening round of the French parliamentary elections on Sunday show that President Emmanuel Macron’s coalition ensemble is well on its way to amassing most of the 577 seats available to MPs seeking the new five-year term. .

NUPES, an unexpected left-wing alliance composed of La France Insoumise, Socialist, Green and Communist parties and led by Jean-Luc Mélenchon, is firmly in second place, meaning Macron and Ensemble may not have enough to maintain their absolute majority in the National assembly.

Percentage of votes, Macron and Mélenchon are blocking his neck and neck, with the latter possibly doing even better with a maximum expected vote of 26.2% compared to Ensemble’s 25.8%.

However, this doesn’t translate directly to the seats, where various polls suggest the Ensemble could get between 255 and 310, compared to NUPES’ possible reach of between 150 and 220 delegates.

Immediately after 9pm, Mélenchon was quick to claim that the tight race based on the number of votes meant the defeat of the Ensemble, with NUPES representatives contesting the predicted number of seats the bloc won from Macron.

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne fired back, saying Ensemble is “the only political force that can achieve a majority”.

The far-right and nationalist Rassemblement led by Marine Le Pen – who lost to Macron in the second round of the presidential election in April – is expected to come in third with about 19% of the vote with 10-25 seats, which could be more than her current eight in the Assembly.

But as the battle for each seat is its own local race, the election for all candidates not getting 50% of the vote will be decided in the second and final round to be held on Sunday, June 19.

Low turnout for parliamentary elections continues

The result came when the turnout for the elections to the House of Representatives was again significantly lower than in the previous elections.

By noon it became clear that the afternoon turnout of 18.43% was almost one point lower than in 2017, when it was 19.24%. The afternoon turnout for the presidential election earlier this year was almost exactly six points higher, standing at 25.48%.

At 39.42% at 5pm CET, the voter count was still below 2017 figures. As polling stations closed at 8pm, the final turnout is expected to be around 47%, with a majority of French voters in favor to stay at home.

French voters chose from a whopping 6,293 candidates running for the election on June 12, representing an average of nearly 11 candidates per constituency.

Of these, 55.8% are men (or 3,514 candidates) and 44.2% are women (2,779 candidates).

Parliamentary elections, which will elect the deputies or MPs to the Assemblée Nationale for the next five years, come after Emmanuel Macron won a second five-year term as president of France in April.

But the centrist pro-European must win a majority in parliament to have the best chance of pushing through his policies, including tax cuts, raising the retirement age and overhauling the social security system.

That ambition remains in balance. Pre-round polls showed his centrist coalition was only slightly ahead of Melenchon’s NUPES bloc, and today’s results reflect what is turning out to be a clearly tight race, with 289 seats needed for an absolute majority.

Macron will hope he does not become the first president since 2002 to face “cohabitation” – a situation where the prime minister is not on the same political side and the president does not have a majority in the assembly.