Pollsters project Macron alliance winning big majority

President Emmanuel Macron won a commanding majority in France's parliamentary election on Sunday, pollsters' estimates showed, securing a powerful mandate to push through his neoliberal pro-business reforms.

Macron's party earned about 32 percent of the vote and polls predict the party will secure upward of 400 seats.

Three pollsters projected that LREM and its Modem allies would win 355 to 365 seats in the 577-seat lower house, fewer than previously forecast.

After Macron's La Republique en Marche party, founded just over a year ago, the second most votes is thought to have gone to the Republicans, with their leader calling the party the country's main opposition.

"Go to vote!" Philippe said while campaigning in southern France late on Thursday.

Correspondents say opponents of Mr Macron may simply have not bothered to turn out. Its leader, Marine Le Pen, is expected to be among those who will be elected.

If confirmed, REM's crushing win will come at the expense of France's traditional parties, the rightwing Republicans and Socialists, but also the far-right National Front which faces major disappointment.

Macron's win in parliament marks the routing of the old political class.

Melenchon's resurgent France Unbowed and the Communist Party were on course to win 26 to 30 seats.

On the right, the conservatives won 133 seats, making it the biggest opposition party.

Sunday's voting is the decisive second round of the election after a first round last weekend that was topped by REM and which was also marked by low turnout.

Macron will need to keep the diverse and politically raw group of lawmakers united behind him as he sets out to overhaul the labour code, cut tens of thousands of public-sector jobs and overhaul an unwieldy pension system.

"This is France, not Russian Federation", far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon said Friday on Europe 1 radio.

The spokesman, Steffen Seibert, hailed the strong showing for Macron's year-old Republic on the Move (REM) in a tweet, adding that Merkel wished for "further good cooperation for Germany, France, Europe".

Opinion polls show that voters, while preparing to hand Macron a crushing majority, are actually hoping for a strong opposition to emerge in parliament.

Turnout will be closely watched after it hit a almost 60-year low in the first round, leading some to warn Macron that his mandate is not as strong as he thinks.

At noon local time, turnout was 17.75 percent, according to the Interior Ministry, lower than in years past.

French voters are casting ballots in the final round of parliamentary elections that could clinch President Emmanuel Macron's hold on power, as his fledgling party overturns politics as usual.

The president "has all the power", said Jean-Christophe Cambadelis, who resigned from his post as head of the Socialist Party, which dominated the outgoing Assembly but was flattened by the unpopularity of former President Francois Holland.

  • Leroy Wright