Macron likely to lose French senate seats

Nearly half of France's Senate seats are up for grabs in elections.
Nearly half of France's Senate seats are up for grabs in elections.

France's Green party looks set to make gains in the French Senate, with polls expected to deliver losses to President Emmanuel Macron's party following a similar defeat in regional elections.

Green party senator Esther Benbassa declared optimistically it would probably be possible to form a Green parliamentary group again, after voting took place to elect about half of the country's upper house of parliament on Sunday.

The Senate is elected indirectly by 87,000 local and regional politicians and is made up of 348 members who are elected for six years. About half of the seats are newly filled every three years.

The Senate has a say in legislation but can be overruled by the deputies in the lower house, the National Assembly.

In the National Assembly, the centrist government of Macron's party La Republique En Marche and its allies have a majority. The Senate currently has a conservative majority.

Voters were meanwhile apparently also showing support for the conservative Republicans, party leader Christian Jacob said on Twitter.

"The Senate majority on the right and in the centre is strengthened," said Gerard Larcher, President of the Senate, also head of the Republicans.

The expected defeat for Macron's La Republique en Marche, expected by many, also appeared likely.

The Greens had lost their parliamentary group in the 2017 elections after failing to get the required 10 senators needed to form this bloc.

Now the party appears on track to gain enough seats.

The Green party was already successful in the local elections a few months ago. At that time, Green candidates were able to win in important cities such as Lyon, Strasbourg and Bordeaux.

Australian Associated Press