France votes Sunday in pivotal runoff elections that could hand a historic victory to Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally and its inward-looking, anti-immigrant vision — or produce a hung parliament and years of political deadlock.

Sunday’s snap elections in this nuclear-armed nation have potential impact on the war in Ukraine, global diplomacy and Europe’s economic stability. And they’re almost certain to undercut President Emmanuel Macron for the remaining three years of his presidency. France could have its first far-right government since the Nazi occupation in World War II if the National Rally wins an absolute majority and its 28-year-old leader Jordan Bardella becomes prime minister.

Racism and antisemitism have marred the electoral campaign, along with Russian cybercampaigns, and more than 50 candidates reported being physically attacked — highly unusual for France. The government is deploying 30,000 police on voting day.

The second-round voting began Saturday in France’s overseas territories from the South Pacific to the Caribbean, Indian Ocean and North Atlantic. The elections wrap up Sunday at 8 p.m. (1800 GMT) in mainland France. Initial polling projections are expected Sunday night, with early official results expected late Sunday and early Monday.

Here’s the latest:

Voting opened Sunday in France for the second round of high-stake legislative elections that have already seen the largest gains ever for the country’s far-right National Rally party.

French President Emmanuel Macron took a huge gamble in dissolving parliament and calling for the elections after his centrists were trounced in European elections on June 9. The first round on June 30 saw the largest gains ever for the anti-immigration, nationalist National Rally, led by Marine Le Pen. Sunday’s vote determines which party controls the National Assembly and who will be prime minister.

If support is further eroded for Macron’s weak centrist majority, he will be forced to share power with parties opposed to most of his pro-business, pro-European Union policies.

The second-round voting began Saturday in France’s overseas territories from the South Pacific to the Caribbean, Indian Ocean and North Atlantic. The elections wrap up Sunday at 8 p.m. (1800 GMT) in mainland France. Initial polling projections are expected Sunday night, with early official results expected late Sunday and early Monday.

Opposition parties made hurried deals ahead of Sunday’s second round of voting to try to block a landslide victory for Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally in the legislative elections, as she said her party would lead the government only if it won an absolute majority — or close to it.

An unprecedented number of candidates who qualified for Round 2 from the left-wing alliance of the New Popular Front and from President Emmanuel Macron’s weakened centrists have stepped aside to favor the candidate most likely to win against a National Rally opponent.

According to a count by French newspaper Le Monde, some 218 candidates who were supposed to compete in the second round have pulled out. Of those, 130 were on the left, and 82 came from the Macron-led centrist alliance Ensemble.

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