French see no one to counter Macron, set to sweep parliament

French see no one to counter Macron, set to sweep parliament

French see no one to counter Macron, set to sweep parliament

French president Emmanuel Macron waves during an inauguration ceremony at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, on May 14, 2017.

President Emmanuel Macron's fledgling party is set to trounce France's traditional main parties in a parliamentary election and secure a huge majority to push through his pro-business reforms, projections after the first round showed on Sunday (11 June).

Emmanuel Macron's centrist party produced strong results Sunday to select new Parliament members in France, one month after he become president.

Some 19.24 percent of voters had cast ballots by midday (1000 GMT), the interior ministry said, compared with 21.06 percent at the same time of day in the first round of 2012.

Under France's electoral rules, only candidates who win more than 50 percent of the vote in the first round win the seat outright.

FN leader Marine Le Pen lost the presidential election to Mr Macron last month. French citizens were electing 577 lawmakers to the country's National Assembly, the lower house of parliament, out of more than 7,800 candidates.

Le Pen has spent the past six years since taking charge of the FN trying to expunge the xenophobic, anti-Semitic ethos engendered by her father Jean-Marie Le Pen, who co-founded the party in 1972.

Others said they had not voted as they were exhausted out by the drawn-out electoral cycle, with party primaries that started past year before the two rounds of presidential and then legislative contests.

Conservative voter Alain Pegard says he and his wife felt reassured when Macron chose his prime minister and economy minister from their party.

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The latest results, if confirmed, are another blow to the country's mainstream Socialist and conservative parties already reeling from Macron's election in May, which blew apart the left-right divide that has shaped French politics for the past century.

From five to 12 seats will be claimed by other candidates.

He is said to believe it would be better to end up with a "hard Brexit" than to let Britain walk away with an advantageous deal, even if it harmed France's trade.

Conceding the party was facing "unprecedented" losses, PS chief Jean-Christophe Cambadelis appealed to voters to rally behind Mr. Macron's rivals to avoid the President monopolising power. The Socialists, who dominated the last Assembly, are expected to suffer a stinging defeat and win just a few dozen seats.

Macron, 39, the former banker and economics minister who had never before held elected office, gambled correctly that voters were ready for something completely new: a movement occupying the political center ground, made up largely of new faces, many of them with no political experience at all.

A comprehensive victory for Macron's party is largely seen as a market-friendly event, although the CAC 40 index was down nearly 1% on Monday at midday.

A second round of voting will be held on Sunday in almost all constituencies between the two or three top-placed contenders. Many of Le Pen's and Mélenchon's voters-both have heavily working-class and pink-collar constituencies-did not go to the polls, suggesting that many will not be represented in the National Assembly.

Marine Le Pen, who is standing as an MP in Northern France, was ahead after the first round after scoring 45% of the vote.

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