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Macron says door still open for Britain to remain in EU

18 Juin 2017

Macron's party "La Republique en Marche" is on course for 400 to 455 of a possible 577 seats in France's parliamentary elections based on the nearly 33% of the vote it won in the first round.

"Of course the door remains open, always open until the Brexit negotiations come to an end", the Independent quoted President Macron as saying when asked if Britain could yet stay in the EU. Warnings by the rightwing party, Les Républicains, and the Socialist party that it would be unhealthy for democracy if Macron's party won a "monopoly" did not appear to be heeded by voters.

Fast forward eight weeks and Mrs May is a much diminished political figure following an unexpectedly bruising election, while the charismatic Mr Macron has been swept to power and his fledgling En Marche! party is on course to win a landslide victory following the first round of parliamentary elections.

But among those who plan to vote for La REM candidates the mood is very different, with an overwhelming feeling that Macron needs to be given a strong enough majority to carry out the policies on which he was elected just over a month ago.

Pollsters say that after routing traditional parties in last week's first-round vote, Macron's Republic on the Move! party could win up to 450 seats Sunday in the 577-seat National Assembly, the powerful lower chamber.

The conservative Les Républicains are expected to be the biggest opposition group in parliament.

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Pollsters predict the party faces financial ruin with its strength in parliament falling from almost 300 seats to around 20 after their five years in power under president Francois Hollande.

FILE - In this Thursday, June 8, 2017 file photo, France's President Emmanuel Macron waits prior to meet the President of Guatemala Jimmy Morales, at the Elysee Palace, in Paris.

Since clinching victory in presidential elections on May 7, Macron has made a confident start to his term and his REM parliamentary candidates have been pulled along in his afterglow.

Given Macron's attempts to clean up French politics, he faced embarrassment on Friday when his small centrist ally, the MoDem party, was placed under preliminary investigation on suspicion of employing fake parliamentary assistants at the European Parliament.

The voting system punishes parties outside the mainstream, or with no mainstream allies, like Le Pen's National Front.

It was forecast to win no more than five seats, far below expectations for the party led by Marine Le Pen - the rival Macron defeated for the presidency in May. His opponent, a former bullfighter representing Macron's party got a public boost this week from visiting Prime Minister Edouard Philippe.