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Macron marches to clear majority in French parliament

Updated

By Agence France-Presse

PARIS – French President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist party swept to a large majority in parliamentary elections on Sunday, although it fell short of a predicted landslide.

French President Emmanuel Macron's party is forecast to win between 400 and 470 seats in the 577-strong parliament. (AFP | Manila Bulletin)

French President Emmanuel Macron’s party is forecast to win between 400 and 470 seats in the 577-strong parliament. (AFP | MANILA BULLETIN)

Macron’s year-old Republique en Marche (Republic on the Move, REM) and their allies were set to win between 350 and 361 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly, based on partial results after the second round of an election which has eliminated many high-profile figures.

The party Macron founded just 16 months ago has re-drawn the French political map, although the winning score was considerably lower than the 470 seats predicted by some pre-vote surveys.

But it gives the 39-year-old president one of France’s biggest post-war majorities, strengthening his hand in implementing his program of business-friendly reforms.

“A year ago, no-one would have imagined such a political renewal,” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said.

“It is down to the president’s desire to breathe new life into democracy and to the French people who wanted to give parliament a new face.”

Macron’s success was tempered by record low turnout of just under 44 percent, leading opposition leaders to claim he had no groundswell of support.

REM routed the Socialists and heavily defeated the rightwing Republicans, while the far-right National Front (FN) of Marine Le Pen — whom Macron defeated in the presidential run-off on May 7 — had a disappointing night.

The new assembly is set to be transformed with younger, more ethnically diverse lawmakers and more than 200 women — far more than in the outgoing parliament.

Around half of REM’s candidates are virtual unknowns drawn from diverse fields of academia, business or local activism.

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