Macron 'defeated' in first round of French vote, says Melenchon

STORY: Initial projections by Elabe put Melenchon's NUPES bloc at 26.2% and Macron's Ensemble! alliance at 25.8% in the first of two rounds of voting.

The exit polls showed a tough road ahead for the centrist president to win an absolute majority in parliament, which requires gaining 289 seats. According to Elabe's projections, Macron's coalition bloc is expected to win between 270-310 parliament seats in the second round on June 19, with the left likely to gain 170-220 seats, a big increase from 2017.

"In view of this result, and the extraordinary opportunity it offers for our personal lives and the destiny of the common homeland, I call on our people to defeat them next Sunday. Of course, to definitively reject the disastrous politics of the majority, of Macron," Melenchon urged supporters after the vote.

With the two-round system, the popular vote in the first round is not a good indication of who will eventually win a majority.

At stake is Macron's ability to pass his reform agenda, including a pension reform he says is essential to restore order to public finances. His opponents on the left are pushing to cut the pension age and launch a big spending drive.

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