Voting underway in France's fraught legislative elections

Polling stations opened across mainland France on Sunday for the first round in high-stakes snap parliamentary elections. Some 49 million French are eligible to vote and turnout is expected to be high after a short and divisive campaign.

Polling stations opened at 8:00 am and will close 12 hours later, immediately followed by projections that usually predict the result with a degree of accuracy.

Voters in France's overseas territories that span the globe cast ballots earlier in the weekend.

Cassandre Cazaux, a nurse who voted in France's Pacific territory of New Caledonia, where tensions remain high following last month's deadly riots, said the elections were "decisive".

"It should be well attended, but I don't know if everyone will play along and come out to vote," she said.

Elections for the 577 seats in the National Assembly (parliament) are a two-round process. The shape of the new parliament will become clear after the second round on 7 July.

President Emmanuel Macron's decision to call snap elections after the far right made considerable gains in European Parliament elections this month stunned friends and foes and sparked uncertainty in Europe's second-biggest economy.

"There is no precedent in recent French politics for such an impasse," Rahman said.

(with AFP)

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