Emmanuel Macron, 44, was dealt a blow on Sunday after the French president’s centrist movement was on par with the radical left. The result of the first round could deprive Mr Macron of a majority in the French parliament. Macron’s Together coalition narrowly lagged the New Popular Ecological and Social People’s Union, an alliance led by 70-year-old Eurosceptic Jean-Luc Melenchon.
According to an estimate by Ifop, the alliance of Melenchon and Macron both won 25.9 percent of the vote.
Commentators across the Channel suggest Macron has been punished at the polls by a combination of inflation, the far-from-attractive Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne and the reaction to Real Madrid’s 1-0 win over Liverpool in the Champions League final in 2016. Stade de France.
Inflation in France is 5.2 percent.
By comparison, inflation in the eurozone stood at 8.1 percent in May.
French voter discontent has also led to record abstentions after more than 50 percent of voters stayed at home.
The French president now has just seven days to avoid a hanged parliament.
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A pending parliament could leave Macron’s presidency at the risk of horse trading to get any measures approved during his second term at the Elysee Palace.
Unless a candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote, which is rare, the race will go into a second round next week, the Times said.
The second ballot includes the top two candidates and everyone who wins 12.5 percent of the vote.
Macron will have to send back 289 MPs to secure a majority.
News channel France 2 has predicted that Macron could get between 255 and 295 seats, while the left-wing alliance could elect 150 to 190 MPs.
Despite following Macron, Melenchon claimed the president’s move had been “defeated” and urged voters to end “30 years of neoliberalism”.
However, 33-year-old Budget Minister Gabriel Attal tried to sully the radical left party with his Eurosceptic views.
Attal claimed the runoff would offer voters a clear choice between the president’s pro-European stance and Mélenchon’s desire to “distance” [France] of the EU”.
The first round result comes just weeks after Macron defeated National Rally leader Marine Le Pen, 53, for the second consecutive presidential election.
Macron defeated Ms. Le Pen by 59 percent to 41 percent.
However, the gap between the president and his far-right challenger has narrowed dramatically with Macron’s emphatic two-on-one victory in 2017.
Ms Le Pen’s party could win just 19 percent of the vote after the National Rally and her allies to bring in a significant number of MPs.
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