French president Macron’s party wins 1st round, aims for big parliamentary majority

President Emmanuel Macron’s political camp has secured a significant victory in the first round of parliamentary elections, which could land the one-year-old political movement with as much as three-quarters of lower house seats when the second round results are announced on June 18.

Macron’s La Republique En Marche (REM) and its allied Democratic Movement (MoDem) secured 32.32 percent in the first round, ahead of the Republicans and their allies with 21.56 percent. The National Front (FN) received 13.20 percent in a vote which had lower than 50 percent turnout, official final results released early Monday morning by the interior ministry revealed.

If REM and MoDem candidates produce similar results in next Sunday’s second round vote, pollsters project that Macron's political alliance could secure between 390 and 445 seats in the 577-member National Assembly. The Republicans and its allies are projected to win between 70 and 110 seats.

The biggest losers of Sunday’s vote appeared to be the Socialists and those on the left of the political spectrum, who only attracted 9.51 percent of the vote. If the second round results show a similar trend, they could lose around 200 seats in the Parliament.

“France is back,” declared Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, according to AFP. “For the past month, the president has shown confidence, willingness and daring in France and on the international stage.”

Meanwhile, the Republicans appealed to their voters to participate in the June 18 second round, warning against one party monopoly.

“Because our project aims at getting all the French people together, we want to tell those who decided not to vote, or who made a different choice during this first round, or who expressed their anger using this vote... we want to tell those potential voters that the country needs balanced powers, rather than having it all concentrated in one party,” Les Republicains (LR) leader Francois Baroin said Sunday.

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen blamed a skewed electoral system for the low voter turnout.

“This catastrophic abstention rate should raise questions over this method of voting, which turns millions of our compatriots off of voting,” explained Le Pen.

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Sunday’s voter turnout of 48.8 percent is the lowest on record following the creation of the Fifth Republic in 1958.

The election showed extremely high support for Macron's party, who could potentially secure the biggest majority since President Charles De Gaulle’s party got over 80 percent of the seats in Parliament in 1968.