France's Macron battles to make up ground in final leg of election campaign

Candidates were making their last campaign pushes Friday for the first round of voting in a high-stakes legislative election in which French President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist government risks a drubbing at the hands of the far right and hard left.

Campaigning ends at midnight Friday, when a media blackout is introduced, with the first round of voting on Sunday.

The far-right, anti-immigration National Rally (RN) is leading the race, potentially giving Marine Le Pen’s party the post of prime minister for the first time in its history.

Macron’s centrist Ensemble alliance, led by current Prime Minister Gabriel Attal, is battling to make up ground.

And there’s a big gap to close.

All the opinion polls show the RN out ahead. An Ipsos poll on Thursday put it on 36 percent, with the left-wing New Popular Front (NFP) on 29 percent and Macron’s Ensemble trailing on 19.5 percent.

If those figures are borne out, RN could massively increase its number of MPs from the current 88 to well over 200 in the 577-seat lower house.

While it would need 289 to secure an absolute majority, some pollsters suggest that cannot be ruled out.

However, France's two-round system of voting means that the election’s ultimate outcome will not be resolved for another week.

Read more on RFI English

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