June 25, 2024

(Bloomberg) — France’s conservative Republicains and its allies were poised to retain a majority in Senate elections, indicating the political balance between President Emmanuel Macron and parliament won’t shift.

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Almost half of the chamber, or 170 seats, were up for grab. The Republicains said they expected to hold 143 or 144 seats, compared with 145 previously, Agence France-Presse reported.

French senators aren’t elected by voters but by thousands of local officials, including mayors, legislators and city council members, though the upper house can introduce or amend legislation.

The constitution also entrusts it to represent local bodies, including municipalities and regions. The lower house, or National Assembly, has the final say on bills and determines which party gets to form a government.

The election showed Les Republicains maintaining solid support at the local level even as it struggles to remain relevant at the national level, said Melody Mock-Gruet, a Paris-based constitutional expert who specializes in parliamentary affairs. The party of former presidents Nicolas Sarkozy and Jacques Chirac has slipped in recent election and is now the fourth-largest group in the National Assembly.

The election has also brought the far-right National Rally back into the Senate. The party won at least three seats, Interior Ministry data showed, further consolidating its presence in French politics ahead of the 2027 presidential election.

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