Sunday 25 February 2018

Emmanuel Macron's party wins French parliament elections, France's PM says

President Emmanuel Macron poses for a selfie as he arrives at his house in Le Touquet (AP/Thibault Camus)
President Emmanuel Macron poses for a selfie as he arrives at his house in Le Touquet (AP/Thibault Camus)

France's prime minister is declaring victory for President Emmanuel Macron's new centrist party in the first round of parliamentary elections set to reshape French politics.

Saying "France is back," Prime Minister Edouard Philippe pledged to move ahead quickly with bold reforms to French worker protections and security policy.

Mr Philippe said voters sent a "message without ambiguity" in the first round elections that they want a parliament with a "new face". Macron's En Marche party is projected to win a strong majority in the second round on June 18.

The prime minister also thanked security services for protecting voting stations and ensuring a safe vote after a string of deadly extremist attacks.

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen lamented "catastrophic" low turnout in the first round of voting.

Runner-up in France's presidential election, Ms Le Pen urged "patriotic" voters to turn out en masse in the second round on June 18 and boost her party's small presence in the National Assembly. She hopes to be a strong opposition force, but her party is only projected to hold about a dozen seats.

She also slammed the electoral system as unfavourable to smaller parties like hers.

The head of the conservative Republicans party, Francois Baroin, also urged voters to turn out in larger numbers next week to help ensure that Mr Macron's party faces a robust opposition.

French government junior minister Mounir Mahjoubi said voters want to give a large majority to the new president following partial results showing his new centrist party is clearly leading the first round of France's parliamentary elections.

Mounir Mahjoubi, junior minister in charge of digital affairs, said on BFM television that voters have acknowledged that the first weeks of Mr Macron's presidency "have been exemplary" and "have allowed the French to see there is a path that suits them".

Mr Mahjoubi himself is running for a seat in Paris as a candidate with Mr Macron's party.

With 46pc of votes counted from Sunday's balloting, the Interior Ministry said En Marche had more than 26pc of votes.

The conservative Republicans had 16pc, the far-right National Front 14pc, the far-left party of Jean-Luc Melenchon had 10pc and the Socialists - who dominated the outgoing National Assembly - with just 7pc.

Polling agencies project that Mr Macron's party will win a large majority in the second round June 18.

Press Association

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