French citizens are casting their ballots on Sunday in the first round of the French elections for Parliament, in what political analysts believe could be one of the most important legislative elections in the country in recent history, as it could shift France’s stance on important issues such as the immigration crisis, the war in Ukraine and the role of the EU.

The centrist coalition supported by incumbent French President Emmanuel Macron risks a total collapse, as both the far-right National Rally led by Marine Le Pen (which polls show could be ruling the country as of next month) and the left is set to make huge gains.

President Macron was forced to call snap elections, after his party lost by a large margin in the recent European Parliament election on June 9.

Based on the latest data by the French Interior Ministry, the turnout rate appears to be significantly high, as by noon French time, 25.9% of registered voters had cast their ballots, compared to 18.43% at the same time in the 2022 parliamentary elections and 19.25% in 2017.

The most recent polling numbers suggest approximately 65% of voters will turn out and that nearly one-third will vote for Marine Le Pen’s party.

Polls will close at 9:00 pm tonight with the first exit polls expected shortly after.

A second round of voting is scheduled to take place next Sunday, July 7th. In this round, candidates from the two largest parties in each electoral district, as well as candidates who receive more than 12.5% of the registered voters in each district, will advance. There is a total of 577 single-member electoral districts in France, each with generally between 100,000 and 120,000 registered voters.