French President Emmanuel Macron—who was recently reelected in April—is on track to lose his absolute majority in France’s National Assembly after polls showed his center-right coalition won by a slimmer majority in elections Sunday, which could make Macron’s policies harder to push through and represents a win for Marine Le Pen’s far-right party.
Pollster Ipsos-Sopra Steria projected Macron’s coalition Ensemble—made up of his La République en Marche party and other groups—will win 224 out of 577 seats in the lower-house chamber of the French Parliament, short of the 289 seats needed for an absolute majority, though Ensemble will still be the chamber’s largest bloc.
Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti, one of Macron’s 13 cabinet ministers not running in the elections, called the numbers “a first place that is obviously disappointing,” according to France 24.
Two of the president’s allies—former head of the National Assembly Richard Ferrand and Health Minister Brigitte Bourguignon—lost their bids for reelection Sunday, both representing major losses for Macron.
Ensemble was pitted against the Nouvelle Union Populaire Écologique et Sociale, or the New Popular Union, a pan-leftist alliance led by Jean-Luc Mélenchon that won 149 seats, according to Ipsos-Sopra Steria.
National Rally, the far-right party led by Le Pen, is estimated to win 89 seats, far more than expected and a more than elevenfold increase from the 8 it won in 2017, which would allow the party to form a parliamentary group for the first time since 1986, when Le Pen’s father Jean-Marie’s National Front Party won 35 seats.
According to projections, the election was plagued by low voter turnout: Only about 46% of French voters cast a ballot, the second-lowest rate since 1958, according to the New York Times.
During the 2017 legislative race, months after Macron first beat Le Pen and won the French presidency, Macron and his allies won 350 of the 577 seats of the National Assembly. With a slimmer majority during his second presidential term, Macron may have to appeal to allies and even opposing lawmakers to pass legislation, especially the items on his agenda that are controversial, like his plan to raise the legal retirement age in France from 62 to 65, which Macron says will help protect the country’s social safety net. Macron also faced off against Le Pen in April’s presidential election, winning with 58% of the vote—compared to 66% in the first Macron-Le Pen face-off five years ago.