French voters head to the polls in the final round of key parliamentary elections that will decide how much leg room President Emmanuel Macron’s party will be given to implement his domestic agenda.
France has began voting in the final round of parliamentary elections, with centrist President Emmanuel Macron's coalition looking to hold off a challenge from a newly formed left-wing alliance.
Forecasters predict a re-run of last week's low turnout at polling stations, which opened at 8:00 am on Sunday (0600 GMT) and will close at 8:00 pm.
The vote will be decisive for Macron's second-term agenda following his re-election in April, with the 44-year-old needing a majority in order to push through promised tax cuts, welfare reform and raise the retirement age.
Projections from polling firms suggest his "Together" coalition is on course to be the biggest party in the next National Assembly, but possibly short of the 289 seats needed for a majority.
New left-wing coalition NUPES is hoping to spring a surprise, with the red-green collective promising to block Macron's agenda after uniting behind 70-year-old figurehead Jean-Luc Melenchon.
Far-right leader Marine Le Pen is also eyeing major gains for her National Rally party, which had just eight seats in the outgoing parliament.
Final round of voting
Macron was left disappointed by results last weekend after a first round of voting saw Together and NUPES finish neck-and-neck on around 26 percent.
Surging inflation, lacklustre campaigning from newly named Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, and Macron's abrasive personality were all seen as reasons for the under-performance.
The first-round vote served to whittle down candidates in most of the country's 577 constituencies to two finalists who will go head-to-head on Sunday.
The election caps an intense two-month sequence to elect a new president and parliament, with voter fatigue seen as one of the reasons for what is expected to be record-low turn-out on Sunday.
The contest between Together and NUPES has turned increasingly bitter over the last week, with Macron's allies seeking to paint their main opponents as dangerous far-leftists.
Melenchon has promised a break from "30 years of neo-liberalism" — meaning free-market capitalism — and has pledged minimum wage and public spending hikes, as well as nationalisations.
It has been 20 years since France last had a president and prime minister from different parties, when rightwinger Jacques Chirac had to work with a Socialist-dominated parliament under premier Lionel Jospin.
A government reshuffle is expected after the election.