Macron faces a tough battle for control of parliament while France votes

After five years of unquestionable control, Macron, known for his top-down approach to power, is considering a new term in which he will have to reach more compromises.

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France voted in Sunday’s parliamentary elections with high stakes that could deprive centrist President Emmanuel Macron of the absolute majority he needs to rule with his hands free.

Voting begins at 8 a.m. (6 p.m. GMT), with initial forecasts expected at 8 p.m. (6 p.m. GMT) in an election that could change the face of French politics.

Researchers predict that Macron’s camp will receive the largest number of seats, but say there is no guarantee that it will reach the 289 threshold for an absolute majority.

Opinion polls also show that the far right is likely to achieve its greatest parliamentary success in decades, while a broad left-green alliance could become the largest opposition group and conservatives will be kings.

If Macron’s camp does not get a full majority, it would open up a period of uncertainty that could be resolved by a degree of power-sharing between France’s unheard-of parties in recent decades – or lead to prolonged paralysis and repeat parliamentary elections down the line.

Macron, who wants to raise the retirement age, pursue his pro-business agenda and further integration into the European Union, won a second term in April.

After electing a president, French voters traditionally used legislative polls a few weeks later to give him a comfortable parliamentary majority – with Francois Mitterrand in 1988, a rare exception.

Macron and his allies can still achieve this.

But the rejuvenated left is facing a difficult challenge, as rampant inflation, which is raising the cost of living, is sending shockwaves into the French political landscape.

If Macron and his allies miss an absolute majority by just a few seats, they could be tempted to deceive center-right or conservative lawmakers, party officials said.

If they miss it by a wide margin, they could either seek an alliance with the Conservatives or run a minority government that will have to negotiate laws on a case-by-case basis with other parties.

Even if Macron’s camp wins the 289 or more seats it needs to avoid power-sharing, it will likely be due to its former prime minister, Edouard Philippe, who will demand more talk about what the government is doing.

So after five years of unquestionable control, Macron, known for his top-down approach to power, is considering a new mandate in which he will have to reach more compromises.

No poll shows that the left-wing Nupes, led by stubborn Jean-Luc Melenchon, are gaining a ruling majority, a scenario that could throw the eurozone’s second-largest economy into an unstable period of coexistence between a president and prime minister from different political groups.

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