Despite a record low voter turnout, French President Emmanuel Macron’s party won an absolute majority of seats in parliament Sunday.
France’s new centrist president and his Republic on the Move party are seeing a resounding victory. With nearly all the votes counted, Macron’s party and its allies are expected to take between 355 and 425 of the 577 seats in the National Assembly.
This will enable Macron to push through his promised reforms of France’s strict labor laws and its ailing social security system.
Macron’s centrists easily beat the traditional left and right parties that have led the National Assembly for decades.
Far-right trailing badly
The far-right National Front party of Macron’s rival in the elections, Marine le Pen, has likely won fewer than 10 seats in parliament, including one for le Pen herself. She had predicted a rousing victory for the National Front, but the party will now be left virtually silent with so few seats.
Macron has been in office a little more than a month but has already made his mark on the international stage. He beat U.S. President Donald Trump at his own handshake game; Macron criticized Russia’s Vladimir Putin while standing beside him; and jumped in with new proposals after the U.S. announced a u-turn on climate change.
That has had an effect at home. After five years of Socialist Party rule, in which former President Francois Hollande failed to meet his objectives of reducing unemployment and giving a boost to the flagging economy, the French were depressed and downbeat.
Seeing the new president widely acclaimed and admired on the international stage has made voters at home sit up and take note – and decide to give him a chance.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has said Macron “has embodied trust, willingness and audacity.”