Tuesday, 21 November, 2017

French see no one to counter Macron, set to sweep parliament

Saul Franklin | 26 June, 2017, 01:42

With 46 per cent of votes counted from yesterday's balloting, the interior ministry said En Marche had more than 26 per cent of votes.

Her defeat in May brought huge relief to European allies who had feared another populist upheaval to follow Britain's Brexit vote and Donald Trump's election as USA president, and disappointment to the party faithful.

"The Assembly needs deputies who are genuinely opposed to the political catastrophe Emmanuel Macron is preparing for us", Le Pen said, accusing the president of wanting to "lay waste" to the country's labor code and allow mass immigration.

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

Jean-Christophe Cambadelis, a senior figure in the French Socialist Party, recognized the "unprecedented retreat" of the Socialist party but also argued it would be a bad result for democracy in France if Macron benefited from a "monopoly on democratic representation".

The far-left party of Jean-Luc Melenchon had 11 percent while the Socialists, who dominated the last National Assembly, had just 7 percent.

The far-right National Front of recently defeated presidential candidate Marine Le Pen is predicted to have between one to 12 lawmakers.

Benoit Hamon, the party's presidential candidate, was also knocked out of the running for his seat.

"A political novice, Emmanuel Macron is set to pull off the most spectacular grand slam of the Fifth Republic", wrote Laurent Joffrin of the left-leaning Liberation daily.

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But Fran├žois Baroin, head of the Republicans, said the low turnout testified to the "deep divisions in French society" and was "extremely worrying".

Candidates from the conservative Republicans party are expected to arrive in second position, and other parties with possibly more than 100 seats.

"Their choice has a clear meaning: they want the action taken by Emmanuel Macron, since his election to the Presidency of the Republic, to be continued", LREM Party President Catherine Barbaroux said in a statement after the exit poll results were announced.

Very few candidates received the 50 percent vote needed for a first-round victory. He voted for Macron's party, then brought his kids to play in the fountains of a Paris park on an extraordinary spring day. Madani Cheurfa, secretary general of the Sciences Po CEVIPOF research institute, said in an interview that the legislative elections "will indicate what will be the practice of power for the next five years to come in France".

That a fresh-faced outsider could win a presidential election without a party machine was surprising.

If confirmed in the final round next Sunday the poll would give Macron a huge mandate to reform the French economy, as well as strengthening his hand in European diplomacy.

Macron, 39, the former banker and economics minister who had never before held elected office, gambled correctly that voters were ready for something completely new: a movement occupying the political center ground, made up largely of new faces, many of them with no political experience at all.

Eying to form a strong opposition, the far-right National Front collected up to 14 percent while the outgoing ruling Socialist Party reported a poor score of between 9 and 10 percent.

His party fielded newcomers in around 200 constituencies, some of whom felled long-sitting former ministers at the first round.

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