Macron’s party set for parliamentary majority, polls show

French President Emmanuel Macron (L) shakes hands with a voting official after voting in the second round of the French legislative elections at the City Hall in Le Touquet, France, 18 June 2017.Image copyright

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Emmanuel Macron was seen voting earlier in Le Touquet

French President Emmanuel Macron’s party is on track for a parliamentary majority, exit polls suggest, weeks after his presidential victory.

Two polls have his La République en Marche, alongside its MoDem allies, winning between 355 and 425 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly.

The winning margin is lower than some expected with turnout down from 2012.

The party was formed just over a year ago, and half of its candidates have little or no political experience.

The result, if confirmed, sweeps all of the mainstream parties aside, and gives the 39-year-old president a strong mandate in parliament to pursue his pro-EU, business-friendly reform plans.

The second round of the parliamentary election was marked by low voter turnout and was down sharply on five years ago.

Correspondents say opponents of Mr Macron may simply have not bothered to turn out for the vote.

What do the exit polls indicate?

Two polls projected La République en Marche (Republic on the Move or LREM) and MoDem combined winning 355-360 seats, but a third poll by Elabe awarded the two parties a bigger majority of between 373 and 403 seats.

A party needs 289 seats to control the 577-seat National Assembly.

It will be seen as a big blow to traditional parties on both the left and right.

The conservative Republicans and their allies could form a large opposition block, with 107-133 seats. But this figure is down from 200 seats in the last parliament.

The Socialists, who were in power for the past five years, alongside their partners, were predicted to get only 30-49 seats – their lowest tally ever.

The far-right National Front (FN) party looks set to get at least six seats, although it was aiming for 15.

FN leader Marine Le Pen, 48, has won a seat in parliament for the first time, representing Henin-Beaumont, a depressed former mining town in the north. But two of her top aides, including her deputy leader, were eliminated.

What are President Macron’s reforms?

The new French president needed a majority to push through the changes that he promised in his campaign, which include:

  • Budget savings of €60bn (£51bn; $65bn) in the next five years
  • Cutting the number of public servants by 120,000
  • Reforming the labour market and generous state pension schemes, bringing them into line with private schemes

The interim LREM leader, Catherine Barbaroux, said the party could now start work towards changing France:

“Far from postures, our members of parliament, through their multiple experiences, will vote for laws to unlock our economy, free up our energies, create new solidarities and protect the French,” she said.

Macron’s economic plans

Who are the LREM candidates?

At least half of LREM candidates are unknown, drawn from a range of backgrounds. They include a retired bullfighter, a Rwandan refugee and a mathematician.

Mr Macron sought gender equality in candidate selection, which resulted in a 50:50 male to female ratio.

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Among the LREM candidates who competed in the second round were Marie Sara, Hervé Berville and Cédric Villani

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