Fiji Time: 3:25 PM on Wednesday 24 January

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Macron wins absolute majority

Reuters
Tuesday, June 20, 2017

PARIS - President Emmanuel Macron won a commanding majority in France's parliamentary election on Sunday, sweeping aside traditional parties and securing a powerful mandate for pro-business reforms.

The result, based on official figures and pollster projections, redraws France's political landscape, humiliating the Socialist and conservative parties that alternated in power for decades until Mr Macron's election in May.

Three pollsters projected that Mr Macron's Republic on the Move (LREM) and its Modem allies would win 355 to 365 seats in the 577-seat lower house, fewer than previously forecast.

They predicted the conservative Republicans and their allies would form the largest opposition bloc with 125 to 131 seats, while the Socialist Party, in power for the past five years, and its partners would secure 41 to 49 seats, their lowest ever in the postwar Fifth Republic.

Official figures with 90 seats still left to be decided showed LREM had already won its majority.

"This is an opportunity for France. One year ago no one would have imagined such a political renewal," Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said in a statement.

Voter turnout was projected to be a record low at about 42 per cent.

The high abstention rate underlines that Mr Macron will have to tread carefully with reforms in a country with muscular trade unions and a history of street protests that have forced many a past government to dilute new legislation.

Government spokesperson Christophe Castaner said it signalled voters "had not wanted to hand Mr Macron a blank cheque".

Nevertheless, the scale of victory gives the president, a pro-EU 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.








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