Macron’s party secures majority in French parliamentary elections – preliminary results

Macron’s party secures majority in French parliamentary elections – preliminary results
French President Emmanuel Macron’s party, ‘Republic on the Move’ (LREM), has scored a landslide victory, winning a majority of seats in the second round of France’s parliamentary elections, preliminary data shows.

According to the data reported by France’s Interior Ministry, Republic on the Move (La République En Marche!, formerly En Marche!) together with its ally, the centrist MoDem [Democratic Movement] party, have secured a majority in the French parliament. With 97 percent of the votes counted, Macron’s LREM is projected to gain at least 300 seats, while MoDem is heading for at least 41 seats.

A total of 289 seats is needed to secure a majority in the 577-member National Assembly.

It means that LREM, formed by the 39-year-old former banker a year ago, will enjoy one of the highest parliamentary majorities since Charles de Gaulle’s ruling party in 1968, giving Macron a strong mandate to start implementing his policies.

The right-wing Republicans and their allies emerged in the exit polls as the largest opposition party, winning over 100 seats. 

The far-right National Front, led by anti-immigration, Eurosceptic candidate Marine Le Pen, who ran against Macron in the presidential race and won 33.9 percent of the vote, has won a mere eight seats.

Le Pen did have one minor victory, however: For the first time, she personally won a seat in the lower house of parliament.

While the outcome may not match the party’s rising ambition, it has nevertheless gained more lawmakers in the National Assembly, having only two MPs in the outgoing legislature.

Sunday’s turnout of around 43 percent, lower than during the first round on June 11, when 48.7 percent of those eligible to vote cast their ballots, hit a record low. 

Commenting on the poor turnout numbers, Le Pen said it could undermine the legitimacy of the newly elected parliament. The lack of interest in these elections will mean that the parliament will not be viewed as representative of all the French people, Le Pen wrote on Twitter, adding that French voters are suffering from a "state of weariness and boredom."

Taking over from the Socialist government of Francois Hollande, Macron has as its stated aims to make sweeping reforms to the French economy, including cutting tens of thousands of public-sector jobs, making it easier to hire and fire workers, and investing billions of euros into fields such as job training and renewable energy.