Emmanuel Macron's takeover of French politics is all but complete

Many voters stayed away from the polls, with turnout of only 50 per cent. Macron's opponents say this helped En Marche - and are now anxious about what the French President could achieve with such a thumping majority.

The centrist party of French President Emmanuel Macron is on course to win a landslide victory following the first round of parliamentary elections.

The party and its ally MoDem won 32 per cent of the first round, ahead of the Republicans and its allies on 21.6.

Returns showed that the National Front would take about 13.5 percent of the vote, while Jean-Luc Mélenchon's leftist France Unbowed Party was expected to win just 11 percent.

Party leader Jean-Christophe Cambadelis and failed presidential candidate Benoit Hamon both crashed out of the running on Sunday.

In his first political test at home, Macon, who created LREM only one a year ago, named 428 candidates, including 214 female faces, with half of them are from civil society and had never held an elected post.

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

It will be contested in next Sunday's second round by Mounir Mahjoubi, the youngest minister in Macron's new government, and hard-left candidate Sarah Legrain.

Les Republicains election chief Francois Baroin appealed to middle-class and rural voters to choose his party in the second round, saying it would safeguard them against tax rises or cuts to public services in the countryside.

The election took place amid heightened security after a series of devastating terror attacks in recent years.

The Republicans are projected to have taken 20.9% of the vote, which is predicted to result in the party winning between 80-100 seats.

The main victim of the vote is the Socialist Party of Macron's predecessor Francois Hollande.

A second and final round of France's parliament election is scheduled for June 18.

The centre-right Republicans had just under 16%, while the Socialists, previously France's ruling party, had won just 7.4%.

Others said they had not voted as they were exhausted out by the drawn-out electoral cycle, with party primaries that started previous year before the two rounds of presidential and then legislative contests.

Pollsters' projected that as many as one-third of votes went to Mr Macron's camp in the first stage of the two-part election. Le Pen said the country's electoral system favors larger parties and needed to be reformed.

Speaking to Xinhua, Madani Cheurfa, secretary general of the Center of Political Research of Sciences Po, said Macron's almost flawless performance since taking office significantly backed his camp's strong performance in the first round of the legislative election.

An absolute majority for Mr Macron's party would enable him to implement campaign promises to simplify labour rules and make it easier to lay off workers in hopes of boosting hiring.

Le Pen and other opposition figures chose instead to highlight the abstention rate, which the National Front leader described as "catastrophic", calling on "patriots" to turn out "massively" in next Sunday's second round, which will fill most of the assembly's seats.

  • Leroy Wright