French heading to polls to elect parliament members

The conservative Republicans had 16 percent, the far-right National Front 14 percent, the far-left party of Jean-Luc Melenchon had 10 percent and the Socialists - who dominated the outgoing National Assembly - with just 7 percent.

If no candidate manages to achieve that target, then all candidates who won at least 12.5% of registered voters go to the second round, where the victor will advance to Parliament.

Voter rejection of old-style, established politics - already seen in the April-May two-round presidential vote that handed power to 39-year-old Macron - was again manifest in the legislative vote.

If he fails to win an absolute majority - 289 out of 577 seats - it would complicate his job as president because he would have to build a coalition with right and left parties.

The figures did not include votes from France's biggest cities and such early counts tend to be less precise than pollsters' estimates, which put Macron's party close to 33 percent.

Macron's fledgling party is expected to win between 415 and 445 seats in the lower house after taking a projected 32.3% of the vote. French voters are choosing lawmakers in the lower house of parliament in a.

Few MPs are expected to be elected outright on Sunday.

Both the Republicans - who had hoped to upstage Macron in the parliamentary election - and the Socialists of Macron's predecessor Francois Hollande appeared set for steep losses.

That tactic has often been used to block candidates from Marine Le Pen's far-right National Front party.

At midday, turnout among the some 47 million eligible voters was 19.24 per cent, down from 21.06 per cent at the same point in the 2012 legislative elections.

People wait in a polling station before casting their ballots in the first round of parliamentary elections, in Marseille, southern France, Sunday, June 11, 2017. Participation in parliamentary elections has typically been significantly higher, mostly between 60 and 80 percent.

He has drawn candidates from a cross-section of society with a former bullfighter, a Nobel Prize victor and a an ex-fighter pilot all hoping to win a seat.

When Macron won the French presidency last month in a landslide, it did not necessarily follow that the new leader - the youngest in modern French history, who has promised a slew of broad, sweeping reforms, many in the notoriously hard labor sector - would carry any kind of lead in the two rounds of legislative elections now underway.

Half of Macron's En Marche candidates are civil servants.

  • Leroy Wright