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First round of France's snap legislative elections kicks off

Xinhua | Updated: 2024-06-30 14:41

French President Emmanuel Macron visits a polling station to vote in the first round of the early French parliamentary elections, in Le Touquet-Paris-Plage, France, June 30, 2024. [Photo/Agencies]

PARIS -- The first round of France's snap legislative elections kicks off Sunday in Metropolitan France for voters to elect 577 members for the National Assembly out of over 4,000 candidates.

Polling booths are open for the 49.5 million registered voters from 8 am to 6 pm local time (0600 GMT to 1600 GMT), while in major cities, such as Paris, Lyon and Marseille, the booths will close at 8 pm local time (1800 GMT).

At many polling stations, the officials see a higher turnout compared with the 2022 legislative elections and the European Parliament elections earlier this month.

Given the importance of the snap legislative elections, more than 2.6 million eligible voters have also chosen to vote by proxies, four times of those in 2022, according to the French Interior Ministry.

Each deputy is elected by direct universal suffrage for five years in a constituency, of which Metropolitan France has 539 and the overseas territories 27. A further 11 deputies will represent French nationals living abroad.

If a candidate scores an absolute majority in the first round -- more than 50 percent of the vote and a turnout rate of no less than 25 percent -- he or she is elected without needing a second round.

If no candidate wins an absolute majority in his or her constituency, those candidates who win the support of at least 12.5 percent of registered voters in the first round can advance to the second round on July 7.

French President Emmanuel Macron announced on June 9 the dissolution of the National Assembly and called new legislative elections after his Renaissance party coalition suffered a heavy defeat in the European Parliament (EP) elections.

The Renaissance party coalition gained 14.6 percent of the vote in the 2024 EP elections, much behind the opposition far-right National Rally (RN), which received 31.37 percent of the vote.

French media outlets describe the snap legislative elections in France as "a historic moment to face."

Samy Benzina, professor of public law at the University of Poitiers, told Le Monde if the RN wins the legislative elections, France would undoubtedly enter a period of unprecedented institutional uncertainty.

"A far-right party has never come out on top in a French general election," he said.

"The RN, as a far-right party, is historically and structurally anti-liberal, and does not adhere to certain constitutional principles that are at the heart of the French Republic, notably the principle of equality or the principle of national solidarity in favor of the disadvantaged," he told Le Monde.

According to several pre-election polls, the National Rally should lead the first round. Provisional results are expected from 8 pm local time (1800 GMT).

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