Paris, Jun 19 (EFE).- Voter participation in the French runoff legislative elections on Sunday stood at 38.11 percent at 5 pm local time, a very low figure but setting no new record after the historic low set in the 2017 vote.
The Interior Ministry, which made public the voter turnout figure, said in a statement that the 38.11 percent number is lower than the 39.42 percent seen at the same time of day during the first round balloting on Sunday, June 12.
However, the figure is above the 35.33 percent charted at 5 pm during the second round of the 2017 legislative elections. At the close of the polls during the runoff five years ago election participation in France reached an historic low for this type of balloting: 57.36 percent.
Comparing Sunday’s 5 pm figure with prior elections, in 2002 the 5 pm voter tally was 46.38 percent, in 2007 it was 49.58 percent and in 2012 it was 46.42 percent.
The polls close on Sunday at 6 pm in rural areas and small cities and towns, while in the big cities of France they will remain open until 8 pm.
After polls in the large urban areas close, the first exit polling will be made public and during the evening, or sometime during the night, the official results are expected to be tabulated and announced.
After the first round of the legislative vote, the leftist NUPES coalition and the Ensemble bloc of President Emmanuel Macron were neck and neck, each with about 26 percent of the votes, but projections by demographic institutes for the runoff have painted a different scenario.
There is no doubt that the Macronist bloc – grouped together under the Ensemble umbrella – will end up being the largest faction in the National Assembly, but the key question is whether it will attain another absolute majority by getting over the 289-seat threshold in the 577-seat chamber.
In the outgoing National Assembly, the two parties that made up Macron’s majority held 348 seats, but that wide margin is sure to be shaved considerably and perhaps eliminated altogether by candidates of the NUPES coalition, headed by Jean-Luc Melenchon.
The centrist bloc backing Macron, who was reelected to another five-year term as president by a relatively wide margin over ultrarightist Marine Le Pen in April, has faced a powerful challenge from NUPES in legislative races since that time, even though Melenchon had been knocked out of the two-candidate presidential runoff.