Voters in France’s overseas territories give the starting signal for a crucial parliamentary election


PARIS (AP) — Voters in France’s overseas territories and those living abroad began casting their ballots Saturday in legislative elections that could deliver an unprecedented victory for the French nationalist far right.

Marine Le Pen’s anti-immigration Rassemblement National party emerged as the winner first round voting last Sunday, followed by a coalition of centre-left, far-left and Green parties – and President Emmanuel Macron‘s centrist alliance in a distant third place.

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

The election concludes on Sunday in mainland France. The first polling forecasts are expected when the last polling stations close at 8pm Paris time (1800 GMT), with early official results expected Sunday night and Monday morning.

Macron announced an early vote after Rassemblement National won the most votes in France’s European Parliament elections last month.

The party, which blames immigration for many of France’s problems, has seen steadily rising support over the past decade and hopes to win an outright majority in the second round. That would allow Rassemblement National leader Jordan Bardella to become prime minister and form a government at odds with Macron’s policies on Ukraine, police powers and other issues.

Pre-election polls suggest the party could 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.

Macron has said he will not step down and will remain president until his term ends in 2027, but he is expected to… weakened, regardless of the outcome.


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