French legislative election: Prez Emmanuel Macron’s party heading for parliamentary majority

Partial official results show that French President Emmanuel Macron’s new centrist party is clearly leading the first round of parliamentary elections crucial to his plans to change France..

world Updated: Jun 12, 2017 00:21 IST
Agencies, Paris
Emmanuel Macron,French President,France legislative election
French President Emmanuel Macron (centre) waves as he leaves his home in Le Touquet, northern France during the first round of France's legislative elections. (AFP Photo)

French President Emmanuel Macron’s party and its allies have won the biggest share of the vote in the first round of legislative elections on Sunday, according to official figures published by the interior ministry and based on a partial count of votes.

Macron’s Republic on the Move party (LREM) and its allies were set to win over 30% of the vote, the ministry said shortly after voting stations closed.

The figures did not include votes from France’s biggest cities and such early counts tend to be less precise than pollsters’ estimates, which put Macron’s party close to 33%.

Republique en Marche (Republic on the Move, REM) and its small centrist ally MoDem are set to garner 390 to 445 seats in the 577-member National Assembly.

The emergence of LREM little as a start-up movement just over a year ago has triggered a major shift in the political landscape in France. The ministry said the abstention rate on Sunday was a high 51.4%.

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen is lamenting “catastrophic” low turnout in the first round of parliamentary elections dominated by Macron’s new centrist party.

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. She hopes to be a strong opposition force, but her party is only projected to hold about a dozen seats.

She also slammed the electoral system as unfavourable to smaller parties like hers.

The head of the conservative Republicans party, Francois Baroin, also urged voters to turn out in larger numbers next week to help ensure that Macron’s party faces a robust opposition.

A French government junior minister said voters want to give a large majority to newly-elected President Emmanuel Macron, following partial results showing his new centrist party is clearly leading the first round of France’s parliamentary elections.

Mounir Mahjoubi, junior minister in charge of digital affairs, said on BFM television that voters have acknowledged that the first weeks of Macron’s presidency “have been exemplary” and “have allowed the French to see there is a path that suits them.”

Mahjoubi himself is running for a seat in Paris as a candidate with Macron’s Republic on the Move party.

Polling agencies project that Macron’s party will win a large majority in the second round June 18.

First Published: Jun 12, 2017 00:21 IST