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Macron’s New Party Set for Landslide in French Parliament Election

PARIS — New French President Emmanuel Macron's fledgling party is set to trounce traditional mainstream rivals in parliamentary elections and secure a huge majority, according to projections after Sunday’s first round of voting.

The poll delivered a further crushing blow to the Socialist and conservative parties that had alternated in power for decades until Macron's election in May blew apart the left-right divide.

Image: French President Emmanuel Macron waves from his car after voting in parliamentary elections
Emmanuel Macron waves after voting in the first of two rounds of French parliamentary elections. POOL / Reuters

With 90 percent of votes accounted for, Macron's La Republique En Marche (REM) and allies had won 31.9 percent support, Interior Ministry results showed.

Projections by three pollsters of the final outcome, based on the first round, gave Macron’s movement and allies between 390 and 445 of the national assembly's 577 seats — potentially the biggest majority since president Charles De Gaulle's conservatives won more than 80 percent of seats in 1968.

That would give France's youngest leader since Napoleon a powerful mandate to make good on campaign pledges to revive France's fortunes by cleaning up politics and easing regulations that investors say hobble the euro zone's second-biggest economy.

Macron professes to be of neither the right nor left. His one-year-old movement fielded both seasoned veterans and political novices including a former bullfighter, a fighter pilot and a former armed police commander.

Macron, a former investment banker, wants what supporters describe as a "big bang" of economic and social reforms, including an easing of stringent labor laws and reform of an unwieldy pension system.

The pro-European leader's program enjoys strong support among liberal, well-educated voters in big cities, but he is less popular in France’s rust belt — where far-right Marine Le Pen drew support in her presidential bid.

However, voter turnout — at just 48.6 percent — was a record low for parliamentary elections in the post-war Fifth Republic.

— Reuters