Published: Mon, June 26, 2017
World Media | By June Phelps

Emmanuel Macron's party sweeps French parliamentary election

Emmanuel Macron's party sweeps French parliamentary election

The results of the first round of voting in the parliamentary election were released early Monday, with Mr. Macron's party winning just over 28 percent of the vote, the most for any single party.

If no candidate manages to achieve that target, then all candidates who won at least 12.5% of registered voters go to the second round, where the victor will advance to Parliament.

Voter rejection of old-style, established politics - already seen in the April-May two-round presidential vote that handed power to Macron - was again felt in the legislative vote.

He said the massive majority Macron is projected to win is "neither healthy nor desirable" and warned against "unanimity" in parliament.

The low turnout rate in the first round of France's parliamentary election suggests a sharp drop-off in interest among voters after the May election of President Emmanuel Macron.

The party's result showed it struggling to rebound from Le Pen's bruising defeat by Macron in May's presidential run-off.

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The conservative Republicans had 16 per cent, the far-right National Front 14 per cent, the far-left party of Jean-Luc Melenchon had 10 per cent and the Socialists - who dominated the outgoing National Assembly - with just seven per cent. Though the polls deem it unlikely, it is possible that the FN will win enough seats to form its own parliamentary group, which would be a critical step towards legitimizing the FN even amidst post-presidential infighting.

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Estimates based on partial results showed Macron's year-old Republique en Marche (Republic on the Move, REM) and its ally MoDem on 32.2-32.9 per cent, ahead of the right-wing Republicans on 20.9-21.5 per cent.

For one, many who voted for Macron in May said that they were merely voting against his opponent, the far-right extremist Marine Le Pen.

"We've maybe been disappointed by the score and we have paid the price, I think, for a low turnout", he told reporters.

The biggest loser of the night was the Socialist party, which saw its support plummet, prompting talk of carnage and massacre.

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FN leader Marine Le Pen blamed her party's poor performance on the low turnout, saying France's electoral system, which favours larger parties, needed to be reformed.

Candidates from the conservative Republicans party are expected to arrive in second position, and other parties with possibly more than 100 seats.

Otherwise, all contenders who get at least 12.5 percent of the votes of registered voters advance to the second round. Madani Cheurfa, secretary general of the Sciences Po CEVIPOF research institute, said in an interview that the legislative elections "will indicate what will be the practice of power for the next five years to come in France".

On the diplomatic front, Macron did not lose to U.S. President Donald Trump when they postured to shake hands together at the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit held in Brussels late May.

Runner-up in France's presidential election, Le Pen urged "patriotic" voters to turn out en masse in the second round June 18 and boost her party's small presence in the National Assembly.

Macron, who had never held elected office before becoming president, has run novices seeking to emulate his success in around 200 constituencies - part of his bid to inject new blood in French politics.

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