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Prez Macron wins commanding parliamentary majority: Pollsters

Polls show Macron is on course to win the biggest parliamentary majority since de Gaulle's

Ingrid Melander & Maya Nikolaeva 

Emmanuel Macron. Photo: Reuters
Emmanuel Macron. Photo: Reuters

won a commanding majority in France’s parliamentary election on Sunday, pollsters' estimates showed, sweeping aside the mainstream parties and securing a powerful mandate to push through his pro-business reforms.

The result, if confirmed, redraws France’s political landscape, humiliating the traditional Socialist and conservative parties that alternated in power for decades until Macron’s election in May blew apart the left-right divide.

Two pollsters projected that on the Move (LREM) and its Modem allies would win 355-360 seats in the 577-seat lower house, lower than previously forecast.

Turnout, though, was on course for a record low, a sign of voter fatigue after seven months of campaigning and voting — and also of disillusionment and anger with that could eventually complicate Macron's reform drive.

Interior Ministry data showed turnout reached 17.75 per cent by 1200 (1000 GMT), its lowest ever at that time of day for a second round of parliamentary elections since at least 1997.
"People know it's already a done deal," Alex Mpoy, a 38-year-old security guard said, echoing the apathy of many voters who intend to abstain.
Prez Macron wins commanding parliamentary majority: Pollsters
Macron cast his vote early in the morning in the seaside resort of before flying to a ceremony outside Paris to mark the anniversary of Charles de Gaulle's 1940 appeal for French resistance to Nazi Germany's occupation.

Polls show Macron is on course to win the biggest parliamentary majority since de Gaulle's own conservatives in 1968.Many of Macron's lawmakers will be political novices, something which will change the face of parliament at the expense of the conservative and socialist parties that have ruled France for decades.

One of the challenges for Macron will be to keep such a diverse and politically raw group of lawmakers united behind him, as he sets out to overhaul labour rules, cut tens of thousands of public-sector jobs and invest billions in areas like job training and renewable energy.

"There has never been such a paradox between a high concentration of power and strong tensions and expectations in terms of changes," Laurent Berger, head of France's CFDT union, told the weekly Journal du Dimanche.

"There is no place for euphoria in victory. There is no providential man, no miracle solution".

Macron's rivals have urged voters not to stay at home, warning power would be concentrated in the hands of one party and democratic debate stifled. "We need other parties to have some weight," 54-year-old assembly line worker Veronique Franqueville said on the parking lot of a tumble-dryer factory in the northern town of Amiens.
"If he wins it all there will be no debate." Among Macron supporters the mood is very different, with an overwhelming feeling that the president needs to be given a strong enough majority to carry out the policies on which he was elected just over a month ago.

The election is set to send shockwaves through the older parties, with their unity, and even survival, at stake.

The conservative The Republicans are expected to be the biggest opposition group in parliament. But polls see them securing no more than 90 to 95 seats out of 577.
Some Republican lawmakers could create a separate group to back Macron on a case-by-case basis. Others may see a future firmly in the opposition.

The Socialist Party, which ruled France until last month, faces a humiliating defeat, which could see them with no more than 25 to 35 seats.The election also spells trouble for the far-right National Front (FN), which is expected to win only one to six seats, when it had hoped to secure a "massive" presence in parliament. Its leader, Marine Le Pen, is expected to be among those who will be elected.

Far-left leader is also seen winning a seat in parliament. But polls are unclear if his France Unbowed party will reach the 15-strong threshold required to be able to form a parliamentary group.

Polling stations close at 6:00 p.m. local time (1600 GMT) in small and medium towns and at 8:00 p.m. local time (1800 GMT) in Paris and other big cities.