Ruling bloc, left-wing coalition lead in 1st round

TEHRAN, Jun. 13 (MNA) – French President Emmanuel Macron is at risk of losing his outright majority after a strong challenge from a coalition of left-wing parties in National Assembly elections.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon's left-green alliance finished neck and neck with Macron's Ensemble (Together), in terms of votes cast in Sunday's first round, BBC reported.

The president faces a battle in next week's second round to win 289 seats and keep his majority.

Turnout was a historically low 47.5%.

Within half an hour of the first projection, a sombre Jean-Luc Mélenchon announced his alliance was in the lead: "The truth at the end of the first round is that the presidential party is beaten and defeated." He called on voters to turn out in force next Sunday "to reject definitively the disastrous policies of Macron's majority".

Emmanuel Macron won a second term in April, but without a majority in the Assembly, he will struggle to push through reforms. He intends to raise gradually the retirement age from 62 to 65, while Mélenchon vows to lower it to 60.

Although Ensemble won 25.71% of the vote, marginally ahead of the left's 25.61%, it was still projected to dominate the National Assembly. TF1 pollster Ifop gave Ensemble 275 to 305 seats, with the green-left alliance on 175-205. Ipsos for France Télévisions said Macron's alliance was heading for a lower 255-295 seats and the left 150-190.

ZZ/PR

News Code 187891

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