Decisive round of legislative elections kicks off in France

2024-07-07 13:20:27 GMT2024-07-07 21:20:27(Beijing Time) Sina English

The second and decisive round of France's snap legislative elections kicked off Sunday in Metropolitan France for voters to elect the remaining 501 members of the 577-seat French National Assembly.

According to the results published by the French Interior Ministry, the French far-right wing party National Rally (RN) was leading the first round of the elections held on June 30, taking 37 seats.

Following the RN, the New Popular Front (NFP), the left-wing parties' electoral alliance, won 32 seats, while French President Emmanuel Macron's centrist coalition only gained two seats.

Five other deputies from various right and extreme right parties were also elected during the first round.

France has a long history of preventing far-right wing parties from taking power, but according to a survey published by consulting firm Elabe on Friday, 33 percent of the French voters want the RN to obtain the largest number of seats in the National Assembly this time, 24 percent for the NFP, and only 18 percent for Macron's centrist coalition.

To stop the RN from gaining the absolute majority, the NFP and Macron's coalition announced that their candidates who entered the second round in third place would renounce their candidacy to not split anti-RN votes.

Any party that wants to form a government should hold an absolute majority of 289 seats in the 577-member assembly. The latest projections show that the RN would win the most seats in the National Assembly but not an absolute majority.

No matter which side wins the legislative elections, Macron has already announced that he will continue his second presidential term until the end of 2027.

Foreigners in France are worried that the RN would take over the French National Assembly. The anti-immigration party has repeatedly said that it would put the French at the core of its possible governance.

"I think it would become very difficult to get French nationality if the RN gets the power," a resident of African origin of the 17th arrondissement of Paris told Xinhua.

"I have been living in France for many years, and I work. But I am still a foreigner, so I worry about my rights," said the 42-year-old man who didn't wish to disclose his name.

Not only foreigners are worried, but also the French are concerned about the future of the country. "I don't want any extremists, either the right or the left," French lawyer Herve Boukobza said.

He cast his ballot in the 16th arrondissement for himself and on behalf of a friend who already left for vacation before the first round.

Just like Herve, more than 2.3 million French have mandated their friends or families to vote by proxy in this crucial election.

Physical attacks targeting 51 candidates were registered during the campaign period before the second round, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said on Friday, adding that some 30 suspects were arrested across the country.

Given the possibility of riots following the announcement of the election results, Darmanin said that some 30,000 police officers would be deployed across France on Sunday, including 5,000 in Paris and its suburbs.

Polling booths are open for the 49.5 million registered voters from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm local time (0600 GMT to 1600 GMT), while in major cities, such as Paris, Lyon and Marseille, the booths will close at 8:00 pm local time.

First projections are expected at 8:00 pm local time (1800 GMT).