Voters across France are set to cast their ballots on Sunday in the second and final round of pivotal parliamentary elections that will determine whether the far right can consolidate its lead and become the strongest force in the National Assembly.

Polling stations will open at 8 am (0600 GMT), with 49.3 million people eligible to vote. Voting in a number of overseas territories has already started.

Results are expected in the evening.

All eyes will be on whether Marine Le Pen’s far-right nationalists of the anti-immigration National Rally (RN) can garner an absolute majority in the National Assembly, the lower house of parliament. This would mark a turning point in France’s history and also have major implications for European politics.

The National Rally emerged as the strongest force in the first round of voting last weekend, ahead of the new left-wing alliance and President Emmanuel Macron‘s centrist camp in third place.

However, only 76 of the 577 seats were allocated in the first round, meaning the top candidates in the remaining constituencies now face off in a run-off vote.

The polls have tightened in recent days, with the voter surveys suggesting Le Pen will fall short of an absolute majority in the National Assembly.

President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist forces and their leftist rivals have scrambled to try and block Le Pen’s camp by standing down more than 200 of their own candidates to avoid splitting the vote.

Macron’s decision to take the risky gamble of calling a snap vote followed the major defeat of his centrist government at the elections to the European Parliament on June 9.

The bet backfired and put Le Pen within striking distance of power.

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