PARIS (AP) — Candidates in the runoff of French parliamentary elections are hitting the campaign trail to try to lure voters to cast ballots next weekend after a record abstention rate in the first round and a likely sweep by President Emmanuel Macron’s new party.

The Interior Ministry said today that less than half of registered voters cast ballots a day earlier. Those who did gave Macron’s the Republic on the Move party 28 percent of the vote — more than 12 points ahead of the closest rival, the mainstream conservatives.

Marine’s Le Pen’s far-right National Front fell flat with 13 percent of the vote.

Macron’s rivals fear the elections will produce a virtual lack of opposition to counter an all-powerful president. Projections show pro- Macron candidates dominating parliament’s 577-seat lower house.



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