Exit polls show Macron wins solid majority

French voters have given President Emmanuel Macron's party a solid victory in the parliamentary election.

Macron's party, founded just a year ago, won the first round of elections on June 11 with less than half of eligible voters going to the polls.

"Tonight, the collapse of the Socialist Party is beyond doubt", Jean-Christophe Cambadelis said after announcing he would step down as head of the Socialist Party. French President Emmanuel Macron's.

According to exit polls released after voting ended on Sunday evening, Macron's LREM and its ally, the centrist MoDem party, will return 360 lawmakers to the National Assembly's 577-seat chamber - far more than the 289 needed for an absolute majority.

The ministry said the far-right National Front was in third place with almost 10% followed by the Socialists with 6.2%.

The parliamentary election is also thought to have brought out a historically low number of votes, with only 35% of those eligible having voted by the late afternoon - even less than the first round.

Le Pen's victory in the northern former coalmining town of Henin-Beaumont was a rare bright spot for her nationalist and anti-EU party that was once hoping to emerge as the principal opposition to Macron.

Commenting on the low turnout, Le Pen said it could undermine the legitimacy of the newly elected parliament. Four seats were won outright in last Sunday's first round. Overall, the first-round vote saw record low voter interest, with less than half of France's 47.5 million voters taking part overall.

Melenchon's resurgent France Unbowed and the Communist Party were on course to win 26 to 30 seats.

"Go and vote!" Prime Minister Edouard Philippe urged on Thursday, calling it both "a right and a responsibility".

Far-left ex-presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon is voting in the Mediterranean city of Marseille, where he is seeking a seat as well. Experts partly blamed voter fatigue following the May election of Macron, plus voter disappointment with politics.

The person with the most votes Sunday earns a seat in the National Assembly.

That would allow Macron to move fast with promised legislation, notably on changing labor laws to make hiring and firing easier.

The center-right Republicans Party is expected to form the second biggest faction in the lower house.

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