More women, far younger: France's new MPs
- Author: Leroy Wright Jun 21, 2017,
Jun 21, 2017, 2:22
The traditional right and left parties that had dominated parliament and government for decades saw their presence in the assembly shrink significantly, confirming the redrawing of the French political landscape that began when the Socialists and the rightwing Republicans were knocked out in the first round of spring's presidential election.
It has been a bad night for the Socialists, which shed more than 250 seats, winning just 29.
REM's Laetitia Avia, 31, who rose from humble beginnings in a family of Togolese immigrants to found her own legal practice, became one of the few French women of African origin to have ever won a parliamentary seat.
The trailblazing party that 39-year-old Macron founded just 14 months ago has caused a political natural disaster even if the winning score was considerably lower than the 470 seats predicted by some pre-vote surveys.
He also said dissent would not be tolerated among the dozens elected on the Macron party ticket, including many newcomers such as 24-year-old law school graduate Typhanie Degois.
His La République en Marche [LREM] party won an estimated 359 of the 577 seats in the National Assembly, some way short of predictions last week that forecast his fledging party could finish with as many as 450.
Macron has forged the beginnings of a strong working relationship with the German leader since his election last month, despite significant differences over several issues including stewardship of the euro.
"For the first time under the (postwar) Fifth Republic, the National Assembly will be deeply renewed - more diverse, younger", LREM Acting President Catherine Barbaroux told Reuters.
Macron, a former Economy Minister in France's Socialist government in 2014-2016, founded the centrist progressive political movement "En Marche!"
The 2017 parliamentary elections were the first in the history of the 5th Republic in which turnout was below 50 percent for both rounds, and in Sunday's second round only 43 percent of the population went to the booth; as France24 points out 'this means the 42 percent of votes won by LREM candidates account for less than 20 percent of registered voters'.
With 57% of votes counted, the Interior Ministry said that Mr Macron's party had won 41% of the vote, followed by the conservative Republicans with 23%.
The party's leader, Jean-Christophe Cambadelis, immediately stood down. French voters are casting ballot.
Trade unions have said Macron must listen to their demands and not use his majority to bulldoze policy reforms through, or else face unrest.
The far-left France Insoumise (Unbowed France) took 17 seats in total, earning enough to form a parliamentary group.
Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel also welcomed the vote's outcome, tweeting that it paved "the way for reforms in France+Europe".