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French Senate elections expected to be dominated by right-wing Republicans

The right-wing Republicans party is expected to dominate France’s Senate elections on Sunday with President Emmanuel Macron’s centre-right party expected to struggle to increase seats in the upper chamber of parliament.

Nearly half of France’s 348 Senate seats are up for grabs on Sunday as an electoral college of roughly 90,000 vote to replace the Senators in 59 départements and four overseas territories.

Roughly half of France’s Senate is reelected every three years but this year, the reelection of six senators representing French citizens overseas will be delayed to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many expect the Republicans to keep their majority in the Senate. They currently have 144 seats in the Senate and have 75 seats up for grabs on Sunday.

The conservative Republicans often support Macron’s pro-business agenda and several members of the government came from the party, founded by Jacques Chirac in 2002, including current Prime Minister Jean Castex.

Although Macron’s party La République en Marche has a majority in the National Assembly or lower house of parliament which has the final say on laws, the presidential party has just 23 seats in the Senate, of which 10 are up for reelection on Sunday.

Losing some of those seats could be a blow to Macron’s party, formed ahead of the 2017 election.

Meanwhile, after the Europe Ecology the Greens party won several of France’s major cities in June’s municipal elections, the ecologists will be hoping to gain enough seats to form a political group in the Senate.

Green party Senator Esther Benbassa tweeted that the party hoped to gain more seats to support local mayors that were recently elected. The party has a limited presence in the French parliament with just four Senators.

They would need deri Senators to be able to form a group in the upper chamber of the parliament.

Voting is expected to go on until 5:30 pm CET this evening.

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