06 July 2024

Voters in France’s overseas territories kick off pivotal parliamentary election

06 July 2024

Voters in France’s overseas territories and living abroad have started casting ballots in parliamentary run-off elections that could hand an unprecedented victory to the nationalist far right.

Marine Le Pen’s anti-immigration party National Rally came out on top of first-round voting last Sunday, followed by a coalition of centre-left, hard-left and green parties – with President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist alliance a distant third.

The second-round voting began on Saturday off the Canadian coast in the North Atlantic territory of Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, and follows in French territories in the Caribbean, South Pacific and Indian Ocean, along with French voters living abroad.

The elections wrap up on Sunday in mainland France. Initial projections are expected when the final voting stations close at 8pm Paris time, with early official results expected from late Sunday.

Mr Macron called the snap legislative vote after National Rally won the most votes in France in European Parliament elections last month.

The party, which blames immigration for many of France’s problems, has seen its support climb steadily over the past decade and is hoping to obtain an absolute majority in the second round.

That would allow National Rally leader Jordan Bardella to become prime minister and form a government that would be at odds with Mr Macron’s policies on Ukraine, police powers and other issues.

Pre-election polls suggest the party may win the most seats in the National Assembly but fall short of an absolute majority of 289 seats, which could result in a hung parliament.

French President Emmanuel Macron (Thibault Camus/AP) (AP)

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