Conservatives leading in French senatorial elections, Greens win

PARIS (AP) – France’s main conservative party appeared poised to retain control of the Senate and the Greens made further gains in a by-election on Sunday, posing a new challenge to President Emmanuel Macron’s struggling centrist movement.

Almost half of the chamber’s 348 seats were up for grabs in the vote, an indirect election in which some 90,000 locally elected officials and city councilors choose senators.

As the results gradually came in on Sunday evening, Senate President Gérard Larcher of the Republican Party tweeted that the center-right majority was intact and that he would run for another term as head of the Senate “for restore the confidence that our country lacks so much “. His coalition had 143 seats in the previous chamber.

Macron’s La République en Marche party, created just four years ago and with only 23 seats in the outgoing Senate, has retained key seats although the final tally is still pending Sunday night. He has lost popularity since the last election in 2017 due to protests by yellow vests against policies seen as favoring the wealthy, internal strife between parties, and voters’ disenchantment with Macron’s leadership, including his management of the coronavirus crisis.

Senior Green Party officials, who received a boost in this year’s municipal elections thanks to growing public concern over climate change, said they won enough seats to form a official voting group in the upper house. The party had just four senators in the outgoing Senate and said Sunday night it had at least 11, above the 10 needed to form a group.

Marine Le Pen’s far-right anti-immigration National Rally has said it retains its sole seat in the Senate.

Senators serve six-year terms, and elections are held every three years for about half of the chamber.

Macron’s party struggled in the last election and the president has not announced whether he will run for a second term in 2022. The virus pandemic and resulting recession, along with years of protests, have compromised its major projects aimed at transforming the French economy into a more global economy. competitive and reinvent European unity.

In recent weeks, France has been grappling with a resurgence of the virus that has already killed more than 31,600 of its citizens, one of the highest virus death rates in Europe.

Macron’s party still controls the lower house of parliament, the National Assembly, which has the final say in Senate legislation. And Republicans who dominate the Senate generally support Macron’s pro-business economic policies.

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