France goes to the polls today with President Emmanuel Macron seeking the parliamentary majority he requires to bring about his political revolution.
The 39-year-old’s La Republique En Marche (LREM) party, is hoping to make huge gains and inflict a further blow on the country’s traditional ruling parties.
It would be a remarkable achievement for Macron, who won the French presidency last month without the support of a traditional mainstream party.
Instead, his En Marche! movement helped carry him to a convincing election victory over far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.
Macron is now hoping his candidates, 50% of which are women, will be voted into Parliament.
He has drawn candidates from a cross-section of society with a former bullfighter, a Nobel Prize winner and a an ex-fighter pilot all hoping to win a seat.
Polls are set to close at 6 p.m. in some towns and 8 p.m. local time in Paris and other large cities (2 p.m. CDT).
How does it work?
There are 7,782 candidates vying for the 577 seats in the lower house of France’s Parliament — so Macron’s party needs 289 for a minimum majority.
To win a seat in the first round of voting, candidates need to win more than half of the votes which must account for at least a quarter of the registered voters.
If no candidate manages to achieve that target then all candidates who win at least 12.5% of registered voters will go into the second round, where the winner will advance to parliament.
While Macron’s party is confident, the more traditional parties are expected to struggle.
Both the Republican and Socialist parties which have traditionally governed during the time of the Fifth Republic, are likely to suffer.
The National Front and Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s far-left party will also hope to take advantage of the disillusionment with the establishment.
Macron’s party are contesting 526 constituencies out of a possible 577. The party has put forward 266 women candidates, while 219 come from outside politics.
Why is this important for Macron?
The success of those parties, however, is likely to pale into insignificance should La Republique En Marche secure the mandate Macron requires to govern successfully.
Macron, who won the presidency on his platform of being a pro-European centrist, is hoping to carry out far-reaching reforms in order to overhaul the country’s political system and economy.
France is suffering from high unemployment, a stagnant economy and security worries. The government has also struggled to cope with immigration and integration.
But for him to be able to carry out his program of reform, he needs to be able to govern — and that means having a majority in parliament.
That scenario appears likely with the President enjoying a successful first few weeks in office where he has impressed in his attitude toward US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.