France begins accelerated election campaign after Macron poll gamble

France on Monday kicked off two weeks of frenetic election campaigning for snap polls called by President Emmanuel Macron to combat the far right after it made big gains in the recent European vote.

Candidates had until Sunday evening to register for the 577 seats in the National Assembly that will be contested in the first round of parliamentary elections on 30 June, with the decisive second round on 7 July.

The centrist alliance led by Macron, who called the snap polls some three years early after the far right National Rally (RN) trounced his party in EU parliamentary elections on 9 June, now has just under two weeks of campaigning to close the gap.

Early polls put the RN out in front on more than 30 percent, with the presidential group in third place, behind the new left-wing Popular Front alliance on 25 percent.

The outcome of the election remains far from clear, but the prospect of RN leading the government and its leader Jordan Bardella, 28, as prime minister, cannot be ruled out.

Polls suggest RN could win up to 265 seats – short of an absolute majority – but which would lead to a hung parliament followed by weeks of complex coalition-building.

The short time frame for campaigning is putting pressure on all the parties.

The alliance faced its first crisis over the weekend after some prominent LFI MPs discovered they were not on the final list, prompting accusations of a "purge".

Read more on RFI English

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