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France’s snap election enters its final hours

Voters in France will vote on Sunday in the final round of voting. snap legislative electionThe result could force President Emmanuel Macron to govern alongside far-right opponents or lead to lingering political unrest weeks before the Paris Summer Olympics.

Mr Macron called elections for the 577-seat National Assembly, France’s lower and more prestigious legislative chamber, last month. a risky gamble seems like there is largely counterproductive after the first round of voting last week.

Most polls close at 6 p.m. local time on Sunday, or as late as 8 p.m. in larger cities. The nationwide projections for the chambers of votes, based on preliminary results, are expected to be shortly after 8 p.m. Official results will come at night.

Here are some things to look out for.

That will be the key question.

The first round of voting was dominated by nationalism, anti-immigration National Rally Party. A coalition of left-wing parties known as the New Popular Front came in second, while Mr Macron’s party and its allies came in third.

Seventy-six seats were won directly — nearly half by the National Rally. But the rest went into a second round of voting.

The more than 300 districts were a three-way race until more than 200 candidates from left-wing parties and Mr Macron’s centrist alliance withdrew to avoid splitting the vote and try to prevent the far right from winning.

That would make it difficult for the National Rally Party and its allies to achieve an absolute majority, although not impossible.

Most of French pollster The party and its allies are expected to win between 175 and 240 seats — short of an absolute majority of 289. But if the National Rally and its allies win an absolute majority, they will almost certainly be able to form a government — and Mr Macron, who has vowed to stay in office, will have to work with them.

A controversial outcome with Mr Macron as president and the leader of the National Rally party, Jordan Bardella, as prime minister is possible, in what France calls coexistence.

The French prime minister and cabinet are responsible to the lower house of parliament and they decide the country’s policies. But they are appointed by the president, who has broad executive powers and is directly elected by the public.

Normally, the president and prime minister share similar political views. (Every five years, France holds presidential and legislative elections within weeks of each other, making it possible for voters to support the same party twice.) But when the presidency and the National Assembly disagree, the president has no choice but to appoint a prime minister from the opposition party—or someone lawmakers will not oust in a vote of no confidence.

Coexistence has happened before, between mainstream and conservative left-wing leaders, from 1986 to 1988, 1993 to 1995 and 1997 to 2002. But coexistence between Mr Macron, a pro-European centrist, and Mr Bardella, a Eurosceptic nationalist, would be unprecedented.

Polls show the likely scenario is for the lower house to split into three blocs with conflicting agendas and, in some cases, deep hostility to one another — the National Rally, the New Popular Front and a narrow centrist coalition that includes Mr Macron’s Renaissance party.

As things stand, no bloc can find enough partners to form a majority, leaving Mr Macron with few options.

“French political culture is not conducive to compromise,” said Samy Benzina, a professor of public law at the University of Poitiers, noting that French institutions are designed to create “clear majorities that can govern themselves.”

“This will be the first time in the Fifth Republic that a government cannot be formed because there is no solid majority,” he said.

Some analysts and politicians have suggested that a broad multiparty coalition could extend from the Greens to more moderate conservatives. But France is not used to coalition-building, and some political leaders have ruled it out.

Another possibility is for a provisional government to handle day-to-day business until there is a political breakthrough. But this would also be a change from French tradition.

Without an effective solution, the country could be plunged into political deadlock for months.

The campaign, one of the shortest in modern French history, was marred by tensions, racist incidents and acts of violence.

A television news program A couple supporting the nationwide protests was filmed cursing at a black neighbor.told her to “go to the dog house”. A TV presenter of North African origin disclosure a racist letter he received at his home. bakery in Avignon burned and covered with homophobic and racist graffiti.

French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said Friday that more than 50 people — candidates, surrogates or supporters — had been “assaulted” during the campaign.

There are fears that post-election protests could turn violent. Authorities have deployed some 30,000 security forces across the country, including some 5,000 in the Paris region, to deal with potential unrest.

Catherine Porter Contribute report.


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