French President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist party won a massive majority in parliamentary elections. Early projections showed Macron’s party dominating the country’s traditional forces.
Macron’s year-old Republic on the Move (REM) and their allies were set to win between 355 and 425 seats in the 577- seat National Assembly, according to partial results after the second round of elections.
The result, if confirmed, would give 39-year-old Macron one of France’s biggest post-war majorities, strengthening his hand in implementing his business-friendly, pro-EU programme.
His party dominated France’s traditional parties, the rightwing Republicans and Socialists, but also the far-right National Front (FN) of defeated presidential candidate Marine Le Pen which fell far short of its target.
But turnout was estimated to be extremely low, at around 44 per cent, giving his critics grounds to claim he has no groundswell of support.
The assembly is set to be transformed with a new generation of lawmakers — younger, more ethnically diverse and with far more women than the outgoing parliament.
Just months ago, Macron was given little chance of becoming president, and now he’s even dominating the parliament.
The Socialists were the biggest losers of the night. The party lost around 200 seats after five years in power under former president Francois Hollande, leaving them with only around 27 to 49 seats.
The Republicans hung on to between 97 and 130 seats, down from over 200 in the last parliament, and remain the main opposition party.
Le Pen’s FN were only expected to win four to eight seats but she was elected an MP. Le Pen’s victory was a rare bright spot for Le Pen’s nationalist and anti-EU party which was once hoping to emerge as the principal opposition to Macron but is now expected to have only a handful of lawmakers.
Official statistics showed turnout at a near 60-year low, revealing a high degree of election fatigue after four votes in under two months.
“People are tired of always seeing the same faces,” said Natacha Dumay, a 59-year-old teacher voting in the northeastern Paris suburb of Pantin where Socialist former justice minister Elisabeth Guigou was voted out a week ago.
Turnout will be closely watched after it hit a near 60-year low in the June 11 first round of voting, leading some to warn Macron that his mandate is not as strong as he thinks.
(With inputs from agencies)