Monday, March 19, 2018
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France votes in second round of parliamentary election

Polls show Macron's En Marche! party winning at least 75 percent of seats in the lower house of parliament.

Polling stations have opened in France for the second round of parliamentary elections. 

Macron's Republic on the Move party, known as En Marche! (LREM) and its centrist allies secured 32 percent of the vote in the first round last week and are tipped to gain between 440 and 470 seats in the National Assembly's 577-seat chamber - more than the 289 necessary for an absolute majority.

The victory for LREM, which was launched by Macron less than a year ago, is considered a slap to mainstream parties.

The conservative Republicans are expected to be the biggest opposition group in parliament, with pollsters forecasting between 80 and 132 seats for them.

READ MORE: French parliamentary elections: All you need to know

The Socialist Party, which ruled France until last month, and its allies are projected to win 20 to 30 seats less than its current 277.

The election also spells trouble for Marine Le Pen's far-right National Front (FN), seen with only between one and six seats when earlier it had hoped to secure a "massive" presence in parliament.

"You cannot leave the prospects for the assembly as they stand - our country needs an opposition to function," Le Pen has said.

In a sign of voter fatigue after two primaries and a long presidential campaign, turnout is expected to be low on Sunday. 

Parties, including the Conservatives, Socialists and National Front, are urging their supporters to vote in greater numbers to try and force a coalition.

'Politicians don't like coalitions but French people like the idea of forcing different politicians to work together. Fabrice D'Almeida, a French historian, said.

"I don't think we'll see a coalition this time but in the past it was a situation that worked." 

Voting will continue until 6pm (16:00 GMT) across France and 8 pm in major cities, with polling companies due to give estimates of the outcome shortly after polls close.

Official results will be released gradually as counting progresses through the night.

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