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French voters cast ballots yesterday in the first round of parliamentary elections to fill the country’s 577-seat National Assembly. The outcome will determine whether President Emmanuel Macron, elected to a second term in April, will retain a legislative majority. 

The centrist Macron has faced a surging opposition effort spearheaded by veteran liberal politician Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who finished third in the presidential race. Mélenchon has assembled a coalition of progressive, leftist, and environmental parties around a platform of expanding the country’s social safety net, raising taxes and the minimum wage, and lowering the retirement age.

Analysts say frustration with major parties has led to a drop in voter enthusiasm. Early returns suggest less than 50% of eligible voters cast ballots yesterday, the lowest level in modern French history. 

The determinative second round of elections is scheduled for next Sunday.