Voters turned out in low numbers on Sunday in the second round of France's parliamentary election, where president Emmanuel Macron is expected to win a landslide majority that should allow him to embark on far-reaching pro-business reforms.
Sunday, June 18, 2017, at 6:45 p.m. EDT: French newspaper Le Parisien reported French President Emmanuel Macron's party La République en Marche, which he started past year, and ally Modem have secured 355 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly. Before voting closed, pollsters had predicted LREM to win between 400 and 470 seats in parliament.
The other half are a mix of centrists and moderate left- and right-wing politicians drawn from established parties including ally MoDem.
After four failed attempts to enter the National Assembly, recently defeated presidential candidate and National Front leader Marine Le Pen was finally elected as an MP in the far-right stronghold of Henin-Beaumont, northern France.
With 57 percent of votes counted, the Interior Ministry said Sunday that Macron's Republic on the Move! party had won 41 percent of the vote, followed by the conservative Republicans with 23 percent.
Of the 577 seat, La Republique en Marche is expected to win a clear majority, leading the way for Macron to easily implement his planned reforms.
The Republicans fared better than the Socialists, hanging on to between 126 and 136 seats, down from over 200 in the last parliament, and remain the main opposition party. "Abstention is never good news for democracy and the low turnout meant the government had "an ardent obligation to succeed".
Paris: He's the man with the Midas touch - and French President Emmanuel Macron proved it again Sunday when his party secured a huge parliamentary election giving him a free hand to push through his programme.
Nevertheless, the anti-establishment party fared better than pollsters forecast over the past few days and has a greater presence in parliament than the past five years, when it had only two MPs. The Socialists, who held the presidency before Macron's independent presidential victory in May, were decimated and only won six percent of the vote.
Far-left ex-presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon is voting in the Mediterranean city of Marseille, where he is seeking a seat as well.
Workers unions have already criticized the labor reform and the president's decision to skirt normal procedure to pass changes that would short-circuit extended debate and nix amendments.
At a joint press conference, Merkel threw her support behind Macron's call for a "historic reconstruction" of the European Union, even expressing some openness to a possible change to key treaties governing the bloc.
In a televised speech, LREM president Catherine Barbaroux said "the magnitude of this new majority is an opportunity for France".
His confident start at home, where he has concentrated on trying to restore the lost prestige of the president, and his decisive action on the worldwide stage has led to a host of positive headlines.
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