Published: Wed, June 21, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Macron's party buries French establishment

Macron's party buries French establishment

There will be no room for debate in parliament and democracy will be stifled if French President Emmanuel Macron wins the landslide parliamentary majority pollsters are predicting, his rivals said after Sunday's first round of voting.

Based on the first-round results, candidates from Macron's LREM, a political party that barely existed one year ago, were projected to take between 415 and 445 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly next week.

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. Macron, on the other hand, will likely face very little opposition and will be in a very strong position to enact his centrist agenda, which includes vigorous reforms to the labor market, downsizing the public sector, and relaunching European integration by restoring France's partnership with Germany.

The vote comes just over a month after 39-year-old Macron became the youngest-ever President of France, beating far-right leader Marine Le Pen by 66 per cent to 34 per cent in a run-off vote. Interior Ministry data showed 40.75 per cent of registered voters had cast ballots by mid-afternoon, well below the 48.31 per cent at the same time in the 2012 election.

It was not clear how opposition parties would be able to stem much of Macron's advance in Sunday's final round.

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Sunday's projections pointed to another torrid night for the two main traditional parties, which have suffered high-profile defections to Macron's government, as well as the far-right National Front.

Responding to the criticism, a senior party official of Macron's Republic on the Move (LREM) party said there would be no riding roughshod over alternative views.

Opinion polls showed Macrons wouldwin between 360 and 427 seats - easily a majority.

Despite the poor performance, Le Pen's control over the party remained too strong for any challenge to her leadership in the near future, he said, especially after her niece Marion Marechal-Le Pen stepped away from politics.

France's far-right National Front is projected to win no more than five seats in the lower house of parliament, polls showed after the first round of voting on Sunday, failing to capitalise again on widespread frustration at mainstream parties.

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Both the Republicans - who had hoped to upstage Macron in the parliamentary election - and the Socialists of Macron's predecessor Francois Hollande appeared set for steep losses.

Opinion pollsters predict Sunday's turnout to hit record low of 49 percent, mirroring the French people's growing disinterest in legislative election.

The near-final first-round tally pointed to a legislative majority so crushing that Mr Macron's rivals fretted that the 39-year-old president will be able to govern France nearly unopposed for his full five-year term.

FN vice-president Florian Philippot admitted to "disappointment" and called on voters to "mobilise massively" for the June 18 second round.

Few candidates reached the 50-percent mark needed for election at the first round.

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Although Macron's party is projected to win big in the end, many of its candidates didn't get enough votes to win spots outright in the first round.

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