Monday, 23 October, 2017

Emmanuel Macron's party wins French parliament elections, France's PM says

Andrew Cummings | 12 June, 2017, 19:01

Over half of French voters did not appear in the polling stations to cast ballots in the first round of the country's parliamentary election, which took place Sunday, France's Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said.

The final results of Sunday's first round of voting show that Macron's Republique en Marche party has won about 32.32 percent of the seats.

The far-right Front National got merely a 14% share of the vote, according to an Ipsos exit poll; that is the same as in 2012.

Macron's rivals fear the elections will produce a virtual lack of opposition to counter an all-powerful president.

Having an absolute majority in the National Assembly, France's lower and more powerful house of parliament, will allow Macron to govern more at ease during his five-year term.

French President Emmanuel Macron's centrist party claimed a sweeping victory in Sunday's first round of elections to the National Assembly, despite a historically low turn-out.

Polls have opened for the first round in France's parliamentary elections, with the year-old centrist party of recently elected President Emmanuel Macron heavily favoured to win a majority.

The party's election chief, Francois Baroin, appealed to middle-class voters and rural voters to choose his party in the second round, saying it would safeguard them against tax rises or cuts to public services in the countryside.

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"We had a recent (presidential) election which shook up the classic parties and I think that the legislative elections give Macron the possibility to show what he is able to do".

The drop could hand it as few as one-to-four seats, well short of the 15 it
requires for a parliamentary group.

Voter turnout, however, hit a record low, as an estimated 52 percent of the population stayed away.

Another sign of voters' rejection of the political mainstream was that far-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon was, with the Communist Party, projected to see his camp win as many as 18 seats, an improvement on the 10 they held before.

It was a similar message from Florian Philippot the vice-president of the National Front, who said urged the party's supporters to "mobilise en masse for the second round" to avoid a Macron walkover.

Socialist secretary general Jean-Christope Cambadelis warned of an "almost complete lack of real opposition" if LREM's majority was confirmed in the second round of voting.

PM Edouard Philippe said "France is back", pledging to move ahead quickly with bold reforms to French worker protections and security policy.

Sunday's results pointed to another torrid night for the two main traditional parties, which have suffered high-profile defections to Mr Macron's government and party. The first round for the most part eliminates candidates who have gathered less than 12.5 per cent of registered voters. He voted for Macron's party, then brought his kids to play in the fountains of a Paris park on an extraordinary spring day. Some key figures from both parties have rallied behind Mr Macron.

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