French voters went to the polls Sunday, for the second round of voting in the country’s parliamentary elections.
Exit polls Sunday night show the centrist Ensemble list – which includes President Emmanuel Macron’s La République En Marche! (LREM) party – plummeting from 350 seats won in the 2017 election to anywhere between 260 to 200 seats, below the 289 necessary for a majority in the 577-member National Assembly.
One of the projected winners of the election is the rightist National Rally party of Marine Le Pen.
The party, which won just eight seats five years ago, is now projected to receive around 80 seats, or nearly 14% of the parliament. Estimates for the National Rally party range from 67 to 100 seats, while pre-election polling suggested it would get no more than 45 seats.
The French Left, centered around Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s New Ecologic and Social People's Union (NUPES) alliance, will form the core of the Opposition, with NUPES projected to win between 149 to 203 seats.
The election marks not only a symbolic defeat for Macron, but will also make the president’s plans for tax cuts and an increase in the age of retirement difficult to win parliamentary backing.