Macron's Party Wins Big

Macron's Party Wins Big

But the vote was marked by record low turnout of 49 percent, possibly reflecting fatalism among Macron's opponents in the face of his seemingly unstoppable advance, experts said.

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".

A major win for Macron and his young formation had been predicted by leading pollsters in France, and it had already won over 50% of the votes in the first round of France's 11 foreign districts' races in which French nationals voted last weekend.

A comprehensive victory for Macron's party is largely seen as a market-friendly event, although the CAC 40 index was down nearly 1% on Monday at midday.

Macron has enjoyed a smooth start in the five weeks since he beat far-right candidate Marine Le Pen to become France's youngest-ever president, naming a cabinet that crosses left- right lines and making a big impression at worldwide summits.

The Socialist Party and its allies are projected to win 20 to 30 seats.

Former prime minister Alain Juppe of the rightwing Republicans said the mass stayaway by voters was a sign of "deep malaise" in the electorate and that a clean sweep by Macron would be bad for democracy.

French President Emmanuel Macron's party, the "Republic on the Move", is close to winning another nationwide election, only a month after Mr. Macron was elected president.

Two parties, Le Pen's National Front and the small centrist MoDem party, an REM ally, are meanwhile under investigation over alleged expenses fraud at the European Parliament.

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French polling agencies are projecting that President Emmanuel Macron's new centrist party crushed traditional rivals in the first round of parliamentary elections likely to drastically reshape French politics.

"We've maybe been disappointed by the score and we have paid the price, I think, for a low turnout", he told reporters.

Socialist Party leader Jean-Christophe Cambadelis, who was eliminated in Paris, called the results "an unprecedented step back for the left as a whole and the PS (Socialist Party) in particular".

Candidates from the conservative Republicans party are expected to arrive in second position, and other parties with possibly more than 100 seats. Many of Le Pen's and Mélenchon's voters-both have heavily working-class and pink-collar constituencies-did not go to the polls, suggesting that many will not be represented in the National Assembly.

If no candidate manages to achieve that target, then all candidates who won at least 12.5% of registered voters go to the second round, where the victor will advance to Parliament.

The party's election chief, Francois Baroin, appealed to middle-class voters and rural voters to choose his party in the second round, saying it would safeguard them against tax rises or cuts to public services in the countryside.

The result supports predictions that Macron will secure a whopping majority in the second round, thereby paving the way for him to implement his pro-business agenda. Unlike Macron, however, they came from long-established political parties with developed electoral apparatuses.

In a bid to shake up the parliament, half of Macron's candidates are political newcomers who, like the president before he took the country's top job, have never held elected office.

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