French presidential party 'defeated' in first round of parliamentary elections
France's hard-left veteran Jean-Luc Melenchon said that president Emmanuel Macron's party was "beaten and defeated" on Sunday after his new left-wing alliance made a strong showing in the first round of parliamentary elections.
Macron is not guaranteed to win an absolute majority in parliament, exit polls showed.
Macron's coalition bloc was expected to win between 270-310 parliament seats - with the mark for an outright majority set at 289 seats - on June 19, according to an Elabe projection showed, while the left was seen getting 170-220 seats, a big increase from 2017.
Initial projections by Elabe put the hard-left veteran Jean-Luc Melenchon's NUPES bloc neck-and-neck with Macron's Ensemble! alliance in the first round, with 26.20% and 25.8% respectively.
With the two-round system, which is applied to 577 constituencies across the country, the popular vote in the first round is not a good indication of who will eventually win a majority on June 19, when the second round is held.
"In view of this result, and the extraordinary opportunity it offers for our personal lives and the destiny of the common homeland, I call on our people to defeat them next Sunday. Of course, to definitively reject the disastrous politics of the majority, of Macron," Melenchon told supporters after the vote.
At stake is Macron's ability to pass his reform agenda, including a pension reform he says is essential to restore order to public finances. His opponents on the left are pushing to cut the pension age and launch a big-spending drive.