Low turnout so far in French parliamentary vote

Violet Tucker
June 19, 2017

Emmanuel Macron's year-old political movement won a large majority in the French parliament Sunday, sweeping aside established parties and giving the rookie president a mandate to push through changes for the French economy, according to pollsters' projections.

Conservative Republicans and their allies trail in second place with 22 percent and polls shows them winning between 70 and 90 seats.

The polls, by Kantar-Sofres and Ipsos/Sopra Steria, projected the main opposition force would be conservative party The Republicans and its allies with between 125 and 133 seats.

It is the second-round of the election featuring run-off contests between the top candidates after the first round held last Sunday. The ministry said the far-right National Front was in third place with almost 10 percent followed by the Socialists with 6.2 percent.

"Go and vote!" Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Thursday.

Pollsters predict the party faces financial ruin with its strength in parliament falling from almost 300 seats to around 20 after their five years in power under president Francois Hollande.

After more than half of France's registered voters stayed away in the first round, opposition parties have sought to spur them into voting by warning of the dangers of a presidential super-majority.

The Interior Ministry said just 17.8 percent of voters had cast ballots, down from 19.2 percent at the same time during the first round, and 21.4 percent at the same time during the second-round voting in the last parliamentary elections in 2012.

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But among those who plan to vote for LREM candidates the mood is very different, with an overwhelming feeling that the Macron needs to be given a strong enough majority to carry out the policies on which he was elected just over a month ago.

After securing 32 percent of the vote in the first round, LREM and its ally, the centrist MoDem party, are tapped to gain between 440 and 470 seats in the National Assembly's 577-seat chamber - far more than the 289 necessary for an absolute majority.

That would allow him to move ahead quickly with promised legislation, including over changing labour laws to make hiring and firing easier.

Far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen is voting in the depressed northern town of Henin-Beaumont, where she is running for a parliament seat.

Ultra-leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon, who Macron also defeated in the presidential vote, said he won in his Marseille district.

The ruling Socialist party, previously a mainstay of French politics, will face near wipe-out if the parliamentary election result mirrors the presidential one.

Pollsters predict the party will lose well over 200 seats after its five years in power under former president Francois Hollande, leaving them with only around 20.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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