French center law retains control of the Senate during elections

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FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron, wearing a protective mask, meets staff and parents during a visit to a maternal and child care center (PMI) in Longjumeau, near Paris, France, September 23, 2020. Ludovic Marin / Pool via REUTERS

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s center-right Les Républicains party was on track to maintain its majority in the Senate after Sunday’s vote, while President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist party avoided a crash 18 months before the general election.

Partial results also showed the French Green Party was making gains, with the leaders of Ecology Europe – the Greens saying they expected to be able to form a group, giving the party a little more influence in the chamber high.

“This election, in the current social, economic and public health context, brings comfort to the center-right majority,” said Gérard Larcher, the leader of the Republicans in a statement.

Half of the 348 Senate seats were contested.

Under the Fifth French Republic, the Senate has less influence over legislation than the National Assembly, the lower house of parliament. In the event of disagreement on the legislation, the Assembly has the last word.

Macron’s La République en Marche (LaRem) controls the lower house with the support of a junior alliance partner.

The Senate is elected indirectly by the mayors of France as well as by regional, departmental and municipal councilors.

Macron struggled to anchor his party, which he created to propel him to the presidency in 2017, at the grassroots level and took a beating in the local elections in a vote earlier this year that saw a green wave.

It is the fifth group in the Senate behind The Republicans and The Socialist Party.

Reporting by Elizabeth Pineau; written by Richard Lough; edited by Barbara Lewis

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