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Emmanuel Macron, wearing a mask, waves as he visits a polling station in Le Touquet, during the first round of the French regional elections on June 20, 2021. Photo: Christian Hartmann/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

French President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist party, La République en Marche, garnered only 10.9 % of the vote in Sunday's regional elections, which saw bigger wins for mainstream left-and-right wing parties, according to an exit poll by Elabe.

Why it matters: Sunday's regional elections are seen as a barometer for next year's national elections, which are only 10 months away, Politico reports.

  • The good news for Macron is that Marine Le Pen's far-right Rassemblement National (National Rally) also performed worse than expected on Sunday, per The Guardian.

The state of play: About 34% of the vote went to left-wing parties and about 29% went to right-wing parties, while the National Rally walked away with 19% of the vote, reports Politico.

  • Turnout was also low, with "68% of voters shunn[ing] the polling stations — an unprecedented rate of abstention," notes The Guardian.
  • Aurore Bergé, a member of Parliament for Macron's LREM, told local news that the results were a "slap in the face," per The Guardian.

Go deeper

Sep 23, 2021 - World

French submarine builder to bill Australia for sunk contract

A French Barracuda class nuclear attack submarine docked in Toulon's harbor in November 2020. Photo: Nicolas Tucat/AFP via Getty Images

French defense contractor Naval Group said Wednesday it will bill the Australian government for torpedoing a multi-billion dollar contract to purchase submarines in favor of nuclear-powered ones from the United States, according to AFP.

Why it matters: Australia's new deal with the U.S. and its scrapped deal with France have set off a diplomatic crisis between the Western allies, causing France to recall its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia last week.

Obama says Powell exemplified what America "can and should be"

Then-President Obama speaks alongside former Secretary of State Colin Powell (left) during a meeting in the Oval Office in 2010. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Obama called Colin Powell an "exemplary soldier and an exemplary patriot" in a statement honoring the former general following his death from COVID complications on Monday.

Why it matters: Powell, the first Black U.S. secretary of state, was known as a Republican but played a critical role in helping Obama get elected in 2008.

Justice Department asks Supreme Court to block Texas abortion ban

Abortion rights activists rally at the Texas State Capitol on Sept. 11 in Austin, Texas. Photo: Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images

The Justice Department on Monday asked the Supreme Court to temporarily block Texas' near-total ban on abortions while federal courts consider its constitutionality.

The big picture: The court last month allowed the ban to take effect, rejecting an emergency application by abortion-rights groups. The law bars the procedure after cardiac activity is detected, as early as six weeks into pregnancy.