French President Emmanuel Macron's party set for majority in parliamentary elections

French Parliamentary Elections: What to Watch For

French President Emmanuel Macron's party set for majority in parliamentary elections

PARIS — President Emmanuel Macron's party, including untested novices, will be sweeping into the lower house of the French parliament, hogging a clear majority of seats after winning an overwhelming victory in Sunday's elections and clinching the young leader's hold on power.

With 57% of votes counted, the Interior Ministry said that Mr Macron's party had won 41% of the vote, followed by the conservative Republicans with 23%.

Just months ago, Mr Macron was given little chance of becoming president, never mind controlling parliament, but he and the movement he founded 16 months ago have tapped into a widespread desire in France for wholesale change.

Official figures with 90 seats still left to be decided showed LREM had already won its majority.

Polling agency projections suggested Macron's Republic on the Move!

The Socialist Party was predicted to win 34 seats - versus more than 300 during the previous legislature.

Less than half the 47.5 million-strong electorate turned out to vote last Sunday, a record low that especially punished the once-feared far-right National Front party of Marine Le Pen, runner-up to Macron for the presidency.

However, Florian Philippot, the party's vice-president and Le Pen's right hand man, who has been at odds with some in the party line over its European strategy, failed to win the seat he was fighting for.

"We are the only force of resistance to the watering down of France, of its social model and its identity", she said defiantly.

The Socialists, who dominated the outgoing Assembly with 314 seats, but were flattened under the unpopularity of former President Francois Hollande, could win as few as 20 seats. Half of the candidates in the running for his party were drawn from civilian life, and half were women.

The pollsters project that Macron's candidates and their allies won as many as 360 seats in the 577-seat chamber.

Le Pen's victory was a rare bright spot for Le Pen's nationalist and anti-EU party which was once hoping to emerge as the principal opposition to Macron but is now expected to have only a handful of lawmakers.

Far-left ex-presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon is voting in the Mediterranean city of Marseille, where he is seeking a seat as well.

However, some prickly opponents vowed to do their best to counter Macron's plans. Experts partly blamed voter fatigue following the May election of Mr Macron, plus voter disappointment with politics.

Disillusion with the political class is one reason given for what is likely to be a record low participation rate that could outdo the record low in last Sunday's first round, measured at 43 percent — five points lower than last week.

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