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Tuesday 19 September 2017

Emmanuel Macron's party secures decisive victory in parliamentary election

French President Emmanuel Macron meets voters after casting his own ballot in parliamentary elections, in the northern seaside town of Le Touquet (Thibault Camus/AP)
French President Emmanuel Macron meets voters after casting his own ballot in parliamentary elections, in the northern seaside town of Le Touquet (Thibault Camus/AP)

French voters have given President Emmanuel Macron's party a solid victory in the parliamentary election.

The vote hands the centrist a mandate to reshape French politics and overhaul the country's restrictive labour laws.

Polling agency projections suggested that Mr Macron's Republic on the Move! party could take 355 to 365 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly, the powerful lower house. That is far more than the 289 seats needed for an absolute majority to carry out his programme.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, a centre-right politician who joined Mr Macron's movement, said "through their vote, a wide majority of the French have chosen hope over anger".

With 82% of the vote counted, the Interior Ministry said Mr Macron's party had 42% of the vote, the conservative Republicans had 22% and the far-right National Front captured 10%.

The Socialists, who ruled the nation before Mr Macron's independent presidential victory in May, were decimated and only won 6% of the vote.

Republicans leader Francois Baroin declared his party the main opposition and wished Mr Macron "good luck" because he said he wants France to succeed. He said conservative lawmakers are going to have a strong bloc in the lower house to be able to voice their views.

However, some opponents vowed to do their best to counter Mr Macron's plans.

Far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen registered a massive victory in her northern bastion of Henin-Beaumont, defeating Mr Macron's candidate as she won her first French parliamentary seat. Ms Le Pen was easily defeated by Mr Macron in the May 7 presidential vote.

Ms Le Pen said she would "fight with all necessary means the harmful projects of the government," especially what she called Mr Macron's pro-European, pro-migrant policies.

She said her National Front party had won at least six seats - with not all votes counted - an increase from the two seats it held in the outgoing legislature.

Ultra-leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon, who Mr Macron also defeated in the presidential vote, said he won in his Marseille district.

Mr Melenchon, whose party was projected to win 25 to 30 seats, denounced Mr Macron's planned labour reforms that would make it easier to hire and fire French workers, calling them a "social coup d'etat" that he would fight.

Voters overall showed little enthusiasm for the election, which could see record low turnout. Experts partly blamed voter fatigue following the May election of Mr Macron, plus voter disappointment with politics.

AP

Press Association

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