Emmanuel Macron is headed for a record-breaking legislative majority

Meanwhile, Ms Le Pen came out on top in her constituency but appeared unlikely to turn her second place in the presidential contest into anything more than a handful of seats in Parliament.

Only 48.8 percent of registered voters cast their ballot on Sunday, the lowest turnout in French modern politics.

The first round of French legislative elections yielded a stunning victory for La République En Marche, a centrist political movement founded just over a year ago by the newly elected president, Emmanuel Macron.

French President Emmanuel Macron will win a crushing majority in Parliament in a week's time, according to projections from his En Marche party's first-round victory last night.

The Republicans and its allies look set to form the main opposition to LREM, with between 70 and 110 seats.

Parties on the extreme right and left seemed to be faring poorly, gaining far fewer votes nationwide than they had in the first round of the presidential election, on April 23.

Her defeat in May brought huge relief to European allies who had feared another populist upheaval to follow Britain's Brexit vote and Donald Trump's election as USA president, and disappointment to the party faithful. Pollsters predict the LREM could secure at least three-quarters of seats in the lower house after next Sunday's second round.

Some 7,882 candidates are running for 577 seats in the National Assembly in Sunday's first round of the two-stage legislative elections.

Mounir Mahjoubi, junior minister in charge of digital affairs, said on BFM television that voters have acknowledged that the first weeks of Mr Macron's presidency "have been exemplary" and "have allowed the French to see there is a path that suits them".

The centre-right Republicans had 21.5 per cent, while the far-right National Front (FN) had 13.2 per cent, followed by the far-left France Unbowed on just over 11 per cent.

Other polls predicted similar outcomes - results that would give France's youngest leader since Napoleon a powerful mandate with which to make good on his campaign pledges to revive France's fortunes by cleaning up politics and easing regulations that investors say hobble the euro zone's No.2 economy.

"It is neither healthy nor desirable for a president who gathered only 24 percent of the vote in the first round of the presidentials and who was elected in the second round only by the rejection of the extreme right should benefit from a monopoly of national representation", said Socialist Party leader Jean-Christophe Cambadelis as results flowed in.

"We are grateful for the trust you have placed in all the new faces of the Republic", Catherine Barbaroux, the party's president, told supporters after seeing the projected results.

Turnout for the vote was 49 per cent, a record low.

LREM party president Catherine Barbaroux thanked voters because "their choice has a clear meaning: they want the action taken by Emmanuel Macron, since his election to the Presidency of the Republic, to be continued".

Le Pen has said she will overhaul the party and open debates on its key policies, including the euro.

  • Larry Hoffman