Macron wins majority to push through reforms

French President Emmanuel Macron waves to the audience as he leaves a polling station in Le Touquet northern France after casting his vote in the first round of the two-stage legislative elections. Macron

He said his determination is "total" to work on major reforms in the coming months.

French President Emmanuel Macron's party La République en Marche has won 42 percent of the vote with 75 percent of the votes counted, the Associated Press reported Sunday.

Marine Le Pen, Macron's arch-rival on the far right, may get four to eight seats, they said.

"Faced with that bloc which represents the interests of oligarchy, faced with this colossus of the system, largely fed with the help of all the media and financial representatives in our country, we are the only force of resistance to the dilution of France, its social model and identity". Macron is a member of a brand new centrist party that he created. The Interior Ministry counted the Republicans and allied candidates with 131 seats.

Polling agency projections suggested that Macron's Republic on the Move! party could take 355 to 365 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly, the powerful lower house.

The result, if confirmed, redraws France's political landscape, humiliating the Socialist and conservative parties which alternated in power for decades until Macron's election in May.

Francois Baroin, who led The Republicans' campaign, said the conservatives would show their differences with Macron, especially on taxes. The ministry said the far-right National Front was in third place with almost 10 percent followed by the Socialists with 6.2 percent.

A minor reshuffle of the Cabinet, an obligatory move after parliamentary elections, is expected this week, perhaps as soon as Monday.

On Sunday she was swift to say the record-high abstention rate in the parliamentary election weakened Macron's legitimacy.

Florian Philippot, her right-hand man in the National Front (FN), failed to win the seat he was fighting, and Gilbert Collard, another top adviser who was one of only two far-right lawmakers in the 2012-2017 parliament, lost his seat. Macron's party, which didn't exist 14 months ago and offered novice candidates from civilian life for many seats, drew from both the left and right to fill its ranks, effectively blurring the country's traditional political divide.

At 43.4%, turnout was the lowest ever, seven percentage points less than in the first round and 10 percentage points less than the previous record low.

"Macron will need to tread carefully, with some questioning the validity of his mandate on a 45 percent turnout, the lowest in fifty years", said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK.

The clear majority will hand the new president a relatively free rein to implement his plans to change French labour law, and overhaul unemployment benefits and pensions.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, a center-right politician who joined Macron's movement, cast his ballot in the port of Le Havre.

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

France's far-right leader Marine Le Pen won a seat in parliament for the first time on Sunday, but it was a bittersweet victory that masked an electoral debacle for her National Front (FN) party.

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