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Emmanuel Macron set to lose parliamentary majority, exit polls show

Emmanuel Macron set to lose parliamentary majority, exit polls show

F

rench President Emmanuel Macron is set to lose his absolute majority in parliament in a devastating blow to his second term in office.

Early reports on Sunday predicted that Mr Macron’s Ensemble alliance would win 224 seats in the lower parliament, enough to maintain an overall majority but short of the 289 seats required for an absolute majority in the National Assembly.

Jean Luc-Melenchon’s left-wing Nupes coalition were set to come second, with a seat projection of between 150 and 180.

The far-right Rassemblement National also appeared to have made big gains, potentially gaining more than 80 seats, according to exit polls.

The lack of a majority will prove a significant obstacle for Mr Macron as he seeks to force through ambitious policies in his second term, including tax cuts and raising France’s retirement age from 62 to 65.

If Mr Macron’s party misses out on an absolute majority by a wide margin, as the projections suggest, they might be forced to seek an alliance with the centre-right Republicains or run a minority government that will have to negotiate laws with other parties on a case-by-case basis.

Government spokesperson Olivia Gregoire said on France 2 television that “we’ve known better evenings.”

“This is a disappointing top position, but still a top position,” she said.

“We are holding out a helping hand to all those who are OK to make that country move forward,” she said, notably referring to Les Republicans, who are expected to have less seats than the far-right.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told France 2 that the result was “a democratic shock” but that fears that it would render the country ungovernable were unfounded.

“What worries me would be quite simply blocking up the country which would, in reality, block our ability to reform and to protect French people, especially in terms of spending power,” added Le Maire.

Marine Le Pen, leader of the Rassemblement National, said she would “incarnate a strong opposition”.

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