Published: Tue, June 20, 2017
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

France elects 233 record number of women to parliament

France elects 233 record number of women to parliament

Paris: French President Emmanuel Macron's trailblazing centrist party on Monday savoured an election victory that gave it a strong majority in parliament, redrawing the country's political map and giving the young leader a strong hand to implement business-friendly reforms.

French President Emmanuel Macron greets his supporters after he voted at the city hall in the second round of the parliamentary elections in Le Touquet, France on June 18, 2017. He was immediately renamed to his job and is in charge of forming a government by Wednesday afternoon, the French presidency said in a statement.

Macron's government spokesman Christophe Castaner, who was elected to parliament, said: "The French people have given us a clear majority, but they didn't want to give us a blank cheque".

It is also entirely unexpected: Macron was unknown three years ago and initially given little chance of emerging as president, but he and his 15-month-old Republic on the Move (REM) party have tapped into widespread desire for change.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe formally resigned on Monday afternoon, a largely symbolic move required after a legislative election.

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Mr Macron's party has filled the political space created by the disarray within the Socialists and the Republicans.

Although it fell short of a predicted landslide, Macron's Republic on the Move (REM) and its centrist ally MoDem won 350 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly after Sunday's runoff vote.

The result did show that Le Pen had made some headway in bringing her anti-EU, anti-immigration party closer to power, as its seat count was up six from the last election in 2012. "This abstention considerably weakens the legitimacy of the new National Assembly".

The Republicans fared better than the Socialists, hanging on to between 126 and 136 seats, down from over 200 in the last parliament, and remain the main opposition party.

The far-right Front National, which now has two seats in parliament, was predicted to win up to eight seats, better than its first-round showing had indicated. While at one point analysts suggested her National Front party might win as many as 50 seats, it took only eight.

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Macron won the final round of the presidential vote on May 7 with 66 percent of the vote.

This will enable Macron to push through his promised reforms of France's strict labor laws and its ailing social security system.

"Abstention has today broken new records".

The radical left La France Insoumise of defeated presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon took 17 seats - enough to form a parliamentary bloc - while Melenchon's one-time allies in the Communist Party took 10. "But above all, allow me to rejoice, because this is a historic event for the representation of women in the National Assembly".

REM's Laetitia Avia, 31, who rose from humble beginnings in a family of Togolese immigrants to found her own legal practice, became one of the few French women of African origin to have ever won a parliamentary seat.

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