Initial projections from the first round of France’s legislative elections held on Sunday indicate that the far right could become the biggest force in parliament for the first time since World War II. The second round of voting is scheduled for next Sunday.

The far-right National Rally (RN) party led with 34% of the vote, followed by the left-wing New Popular Front (NFP) with 28.1% and President Emmanuel Macron’s Ensemble! coalition with 20.3%.

These results could result in 230 to 280 seats for the RN, while the left could obtain 125 to 165 seats, and Macron’s former government majority between 70 to 100 seats.

Marine Le Pen, leader of the RN and newly elected MP, stressed the importance of obtaining an absolute majority to appoint Jordan Bardella as prime minister.

This year’s election saw the lowest turnout in four decades, with 67.5 percent of voters taking part, reflecting high interest in the election among France’s 49 million eligible voters.

Bardella, who voted in Garches, a suburb of Paris, stressed that he would accept the premiership only if his party won an absolute majority of the 577 seats in the Assembly, possibly through alliances with other right-wing and centrist parties.

President Macron, meanwhile, voted in the northern French resort of Le Touquet. After voting, he spent time chatting with voters and taking selfies.

NFP leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon called the results a significant defeat for Macron and anticipated the departure of Gabriel Attal as prime minister.

Mélenchon announced that the NFP will support centrist candidates who have the best chance of defeating the RN in the second round. The French electoral system allows more than two candidates to advance to the second round if they win at least 12.5 percent of the votes of registered voters.

In response to the early results of the European Parliament elections, Macron dissolved the National Assembly on June 9. The French electoral system is district-based, majoritarian and in two rounds, with the next and decisive round scheduled for July 7.

According to a survey by the Ipsos institute, inflation is currently the biggest concern for the French, followed by crime, immigration and poverty.

Bardella promised, from his first day in government, to implement measures to improve purchasing power, starting with the elimination of taxes on essential products.

With information from Reuters


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