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Macron could lose absolute majority in parliament, poll finds

PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron could have a hard time eking out an absolute majority in parliament in the upcoming legislative elections as support for rival left-wing groups edges up, according to fresh polls.

Legislative elections — slated for June 12 and 19 — are typically difficult to predict because they consist of 577 distinct local races. But an Ifop poll published Tuesday has Macron’s camp worried, as it projects them with 250 to 290 seats, with the majority threshold at 289. Even worse, the numbers have been trending down since late May, when Ifop had the president’s allies landing between 275 and 310 seats.

Other polling firms show the president’s camp faring better. POLITICO’s Poll of Polls projects a likely range of 275 to 318 seats, but the trend here is also pointing downward over the past weeks.

A scenario in which the presidential camp remains the biggest group in parliament but gets less than 289 seats could potentially gridlock the national assembly, as it would lack a majority with a clear agenda.

Wednesday morning on France Inter, Olivier Véran, the newly appointed minister delegate for relations with parliament, begged voters to “not add an institutional crisis by having a country which would not be governable anymore,” even though he said he remained confident about the election.

Unlike in 2017, when Macron’s party, LREM, and its ally Mouvement Démocrate obtained 356 seats, the reelected president is facing a united front on the left. The New Popular, Environmental and Social Union (NUPES), an ad hoc alliance of left-wing parties led by former presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon, could get from 190 to 235 seats, Ifop projects. The estimate is above the Poll of Polls average of seat projections which has NUPES at 158 to 196 seats.

Mélenchon is also vying to get a majority, asking voters to “elect him prime minister,” an outcome that appears highly unlikely.

Voting in the French parliamentary election is already underway. 11 of the 577 seats in the National Assembly are decided on by French citizens living abroad, who have already cast their first-round vote on June 5.  Macron’s candidates came out on top in most of the overseas constituencies, that also voted en masse to reelect the centrist in the presidential election in April.

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