French parliament voter turnout falls sharply in second round

President Emmanuel Macron won a commanding majority in France's parliamentary election on Sunday, pollster estimates showed, trouncing the mainstream parties for a strong mandate to push through his pro-business reforms.

French unions have lost many of their traditional allies in parliament after Sunday's parliamentary election result, but President Emmanuel Macron can not afford to ride roughshod over them if he is to successfully push through his reform agenda.

The new president's REM party and its allies MoDem are forecast to win between 355 and 425 seats in the 577-member National Assembly.

Party had won 41 percent of the vote, followed by the conservative Republicans with 23 percent.

With almost all votes counted, his La République en Marche, alongside its MoDem allies, won more than 300 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly.

The novice La Republique En Marche party and its political ally - the Mouvement Démocrate (MoDem) - won a combined 32.3% of the vote in the election's first round.

The Republicans hung on to between 97 and 130 seats, down from over 200 in the last parliament, and remain the main opposition party.

The result is a minor victory for the nationalist firebrand, who started the year eyeing the presidency and end up with just a handful of seats in the National Assembly, too few to form a parliamentary group and have role in setting the political agenda.

The party of Melenchon, a candidate in a Marseille district facing off a Macron candidate, was also hit hard by the low turnout rate. They agonized over the possibility that Marine Le Pen, the leader of the far-right populist National Front, might become the president of the Fifth Republic-or, at the least, grow more influential than ever before.

The scale of the majority hands Macron, a pro-European Union centrist, a strong platform from which to make good on campaign promises to revive France's fortunes by cleaning up politics and relaxing regulations that investors say shackle the euro zone's second-biggest economy.

Jean-Christophe Cambadelis said that "Emmanuel Macron's triumph is uncontestable, the defeat of the left is unavoidable, and the defeat of the Socialist party is irrevocable".

Turnout was 35.3% on Sunday afternoon (June 18), down from 46.42% at the same time in the 2012 election.

Jean-Luc Melenchon's far-left La France insoumise (Unbowed France) party and its Communist supporters are expected to hold 30 seats.

But rival parties are urging voters not to give Macron a blank cheque in a bid to stop a monopolisation of power.

The party, which was in power for five years under former president Francois Hollande, has been associated with years of high unemployment, low national confidence and social unrest.

  • Leroy Wright