Macron set for success as party dominates French elections

Posted June 26, 2017

By 5 p.m. local time (1500 GMT), 40.75 percent had cast their ballots, the lowest turnout in the 5th Republic, compared with the same time of day in the first round of 2012, when the figure stood at 48.3 percent.

"It is not healthy that a president who gathered 24 percent of votes in the first round of the presidential election has a monopoly in the assembly", Cambadelis said, referring to Macron's score in April.

"I am particularly concerned about the fact that 1 French person out of 2 did not vote", Valérie Pécresse, the president of the center-right Republicans party in the Ile-de-France region, told Le Monde newspaper.

The party's chief Jean-Christophe Cambadelis and its failed presidential candidate Benoit Hamon both lost their seats.

France has a new Goliath in politics.

Among commentators also sounding a cautionary note was Nicolas Beytout of the daily L'Opinion, who wrote: "Sure, Emmanuel Macron is ready to pull off the unthinkable for someone who didn't even have a party a year ago - a spectacular majority in the National Assembly".

Elsewhere, German Chancellor Angela Merkel - who, like Macron, has a pro-EU stance - congratulated him on the "great success" of his party.

Le Pen's party took a disappointing 13.2 percent, well below her 21.3 percent of the presidential first-round vote. Former President Francois Hollande's Socialist Party had 280 seats.

In the second round of the French presidential elections on May 7, 2017, Macron defeated far-right National Front's leader Marine Le Pen, by 66.1% to 33.9% of the votes.

French voters have traditionally rallied behind their new leader in the legislative elections that follow the presidential ballot.

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The lower turnout was mainly attributed to two major reasons - too intensive election arrangements, and the public's doubt over the French-style democracy and its effectiveness. In a political landscape defined for decades by the well-oiled machines of traditional center-left and center-right parties, the rise of Macron's Republic on the Move represented a watershed development.

Projections show his Republic on the Move party and its MoDem ally set to win up to 445 seats.

After being sworn in, Macron immediately started up his "New Deal" at home, from reform on labor law to the establishment of anti-terrorism center, and the enactment of new anti-corruption rules, all of which caught the hearts of French people and impressed them with pragmatic reforms.

During the first round, candidates who recorded less than 12.5 percent of the vote are eliminated.

Le Pen's party will struggle to win the 15 seats it would need to form a parliamentary group, being forecast to take only 10.

He said that a "reaction is indispensable" in order to have a "balanced power" in the assembly.

But while Macron's LRM party is pushing traditional parties into irrelevance, it is not getting a strong mandate from French voters.

Pollsters' projected that as many as one-third of votes went to Mr Macron's camp in the first stage of the two-part election.

Macron, who had never held elected office before becoming president, will also have succeeded in ushering in a younger and more diverse parliament with more women and ethnic minorities. Unlike Macron, however, they all came from long- established parties.