PARIS (AP) — President Emmanuel Macron urged the French to give him a “strong majority” Sunday in the second, decisive round of nationwide parliamentary elections.
Macron appeared under pressure as he spoke Tuesday from the tarmac of a Paris airport, just before boarding a flight for a two-day visit to Romania and Moldova. “We need a strong majority,” he repeated several times, with the sound of the running plane’s engines in the background.
After the elections’ first round, his party and allies are expected to keep the biggest number of seats at the National Assembly, but possibly fall short of getting an absolute majority. Macron’s government would then still be able to rule, but only by bargaining with legislators.
Speaking to French voters, he underlined that the war in Ukraine is prompting global chaos, including energy price spikes and food insecurity in some regions.
“In these troubled times, the choice you’ll have to make this Sunday, June 19, is more crucial than ever,” he said. “Nothing would be worse than adding French disorder to the world’s disorder.”
“You’ve put the presidential majority ahead and I warmly thank you for that. But you’ve been even more numerous to express your doubts, your worries, your fears, either by abstaining or by choosing other candidates (from other political parties),” Macron acknowledged.
Sunday’s turnout reached a record low for a parliamentary election, with less than half of France’s 48.7 million voters casting ballots.
Macron’s party and its allies came out neck-and-neck with a new leftist coalition, composed of the hard-left, Socialists and Greens. At the national level, they both got close to 26% of the votes in the first round.
Macron’s candidates are projected to win in a greater number of districts than their leftist rivals, but they would get far fewer seats than five years ago.
France’s two-round voting system is complex and not proportionate to the nationwide support for a party.