Far right hopes to make history as France votes in high-stakes poll

PARIS: France is voting in a parliamentary election that could make history, with the far right closer to power than it has ever been in modern times.

The National Rally (RN) of Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella is well ahead in the polls – three weeks to the day since they won European elections. President Emmanuel Macron reacted immediately by calling a national vote and stunning his country.

A high turnout is expected among 49 million voters for such a pivotal election and polls close in the big cities at 20:00 (18:00GMT), when the first exit polls come out.

 

This is a two-round election, and most of the National Assembly’s 577 seats will not be decided until the second-round run-off vote next Sunday.

“We are going to win an absolute majority,” Le Pen said in a newspaper interview on Wednesday, predicting that her protégé, 28-year-old Jordan Bardella, would be prime minister. Her party has a high-spending economic programme and seeks to reduce immigration.
A woman screamed “It’s shameful, it’s shameful” as Bardella arrived to cast his vote in Garches near Paris. “They even invited the leftists,” he said.

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