Turnout increases slightly in France in the second round of the general elections | International
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The awareness that not everything is decided in advance seems to have mobilized the French called this Sunday to elect, in the second and last round, the deputies that will make up the National Assembly. At 12:00, the participation rate stood at 18.99%, slightly above that registered at the same time in the first round held a week ago (18.43%), as reported by the Ministry of the Interior. The figure even exceeds the turnout five years ago, when the now re-elected president, Emmanuel Macron, achieved an absolute parliamentary majority.
One of the factors of this greater mobilization could be the uncertainty that marks this new electoral round, where the intense campaign carried out by the alliance of leftist parties led by Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the NUPES (New Ecological and Social Popular Union), has It has shaken the prospects of macronismo to revalidate its “solid majority”, as Macron has defined it, of the first term.
In 2017, practically all French people took the landslide legislative victory of Macronism for granted, which led many not to vote in the second round. Now, everything is much more open and NUPES, although it does not seem that it will achieve its ambition of becoming the majority force in the hemicycle and thus impose a cohabitation government on Macron with Mélenchon as prime minister, it could become the second parliamentary force of the country.
A greater turnout, according to polling institutes, will benefit the left-wing parties, whose success depends heavily on the young vote and the popular classes, the two sectors where abstentionism is most marked: in the first round, last Sunday, the 75% of those under 25 years of age did not turn out to vote. The mobilization capacity of the electorate cannot be confirmed until 8:00 p.m., when the last polling stations close in the big cities. The second number of participation of the day, closer to the final result, will be known at 5:00 p.m.
In any case, the data confirms the trend of increasing abstention in France election after election. In 2012, the turnout in the second round of the legislative elections was, at 12:00, 21.41%, a figure that five years earlier had risen to 22.89%. Last week, the first round of the legislative elections closed with a record abstention of 52.49%.
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In an attempt to set an example, most of the country’s political figures turned out to vote early. The far-right leader Marine Le Pen, who hopes that her party, National Regroupment, manages to form a parliamentary group (for which she needs at least 15 deputies) for the first time in three decades, did so at mid-morning in her fief of Hénin Beaumont, in the north of the country. Mélenchon, who is not a candidate, voted in Marseille, while the prime minister and candidate for a seat, Élisabeth Borne, did so in Calvados, in Normandy. Macron was the last to go to his electoral college, in Le Touquet, also in the north, after noon, and after taking a long time to greet those who had come to see him.
Beyond the balance in the National Assembly, Macron is also playing this Sunday for the stability of his Cabinet, in which half of his ministers are candidates for deputy, including Prime Minister Borne. The president has been blunt: whoever does not get his seat will have to resign.
The president’s first setback came from the overseas territories, where voting began on Saturday and the first results are already known. The Secretary of State for the Sea, Justine Bénin, has been defeated by a left-wing candidate supported by NUPES. Although she has not yet spoken, she is counting on her handing in her resignation. At least three other Macron ministers are on the tightrope: the delegate minister for Europe, Clément Beaune; The Minister of Public Function, Stanislas Guerini, and the Minister of Ecological Transition and Cohesion of Territories, Amélie de Montchalin, started with a disadvantage in the polls facing their rivals this Sunday.
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