France is electing about half of its senators Sunday, in an important vote for President Emmanuel Macron’s reform plans, threatened by his declining popularity just four months after his election in May.
Macron’s centrist Republic on the Move! party, which emerged just last year, won a large majority in the lower house of parliament in June elections, but is unlikely to enjoy a similar margin in the Senate.
Surveys suggest the conservative Republicans party will consolidate its majority in the chamber of 348 seats.
Under such a scenario, Republic on the Move! is likely to seek alliances in the Senate with other centrists and moderate Republicans and Socialists to approve Macron’s business-friendly economic reforms.
In France, senators are not chosen by the public but by about 75,000 elected officials, such as mayors, legislators, regional and local councilors, who cast ballots in town halls across the country.
Results of the senatorial race are expected Sunday night. Nearly 2,000 candidates are competing for 171 Senate seats.