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

Parmenio Sano | 12 Giugno, 2017, 22:23

The victory for the pro-Europe En Marche candidates in France, stands in stark contrast with the disastrous results suffered by Theresa May's Conservative party in the United Kingdom, after the prime minister called a snap election to boost her majority ahead of Brexit negotiations that are due to start next week.

The low turnout rate in the first round of France's parliamentary election suggests a sharp drop-off in interest among voters after the May election of President Emmanuel Macron.

Record-low turnout, however, took some shine off the achievement.

"The stakes of the second round are clear", said the current mayor of Bordeaux, calling for Republicans voters to turn out in force on Sunday.

"If there is no debate in parliament it will take place in the street", said conservative candidate Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet who faces a run-off in her constituency against a LREM candidate.

But Macron's score of 24 percent in the first round of the presidential race and Sunday's low turnout undermine "the illusion of Macron-mania", he said.

But Macron seems to be up to this challenge, too.

What editorial writers proclaimed as a "spectacular" sweep by the REM left the Republicans - who had hoped to rebound from their humiliation in the presidential vote - trailing in second with a predicted 70-130 seats.

Former presidential candidate Marine Le Pen's right-wing Front National party garnered 13.2 per cent of the vote, but looked to win only a smattering of seats.

Macron's office says he has held a series of conversations over the past week with the emir of Qatar, the king of Saudi Arabia, the Turkish president and the crown prince of Abu Dhabi.

The FN's deputy leader Florian Philippot admitted to "disappointment" and called on voters to "mobilise massively" for the second round.

The radical France Insoumise (France Unbowed) of leftist firebrand Jean-Luc Melenchon and on-off Communist allies fell short of expectations.

The Socialists, France's former ruling party, are seen losing 200 seats.

The biggest losers of all were the Socialist Party, which only mustered around seven per cent of the vote - a catastrophic collapse five years after winning a parliamentary majority under the previous administration of historically unpopular ex-president Francois Hollande. "The French will expect results", he warned.

Few candidates reached the 50-percent mark needed for election at the first round. The final outcome will be decided in the second round of voting next Sunday, reported BBC.

With all the ballots counted by early Monday morning, La Republique en Marche (Republic on the Move) and its Mouvement Democrate (MoDem) allies won a combined 32.3 per cent of the vote, while the established Les Republicains trailed with 15.8 per cent of the vote, reports CNN. "My heartfelt congratulations to Emmanuel Macron on the great success of his party in the first ballot", Merkel was quoted as saying by government spokesman Steffen Seibert on Twitter.

France's youngest-ever president at 39, Macron has gained praise for appointing a balanced cabinet that straddles the left-right divide and taking a leading role in Europe's fight-back against US President Donald Trump on climate change.


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