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France's Macron to reshuffle government after parliament win

19 Juin 2017

The May 7 election of the 39-year-old Macron, himself untested, upended France's political landscape, a phenomenon that continued with the parliamentary victory of a party that didn't exist 14 months ago.

Turnout will be closely watched after it hit a near 60-year low in the June 11 first round of voting, leading some to warn Macron that his mandate is not as strong as he thinks. In French elections, if no candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote in the first round, a runoff is held between the top two vote-getters. A record-low turnout marred the vote with far less than France's 47.5 million eligible voters bothering to cast ballots amid widespread disillusionment with politics and voter fatigue following several roller coaster campaigns and voting.

Ms Le Pen said President Macron may have got a large parliamentary majority, but "he must know that his ideas are not of the majority in the country and that the French will not support a project that weakens our nation".

"Macron managed to attract voters who wanted to protest against the traditional political parties, which in a sense makes him a part of the "anti-establishment" wave that we see in Europe and the United States", he added. The centre-right Republicans and allies will form the main opposition but with a disappointing 125 seats, down from 199, according to the estimate.

President Emmanuel Macron's fledgling Republic on the Move! party is hoping for a steamroller win in this election that would upend years of French political expectations.

However, polling numbers were a dim spot for En Marche, as only 43% of voters had exercised their franchise in the polls.

(LRM), the president's political movement, had won about 359 of the 577 seats.

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French President Emmanuel Macron shakes hands with people during the ceremony to mark the 77th anniversary of late French General Charles de Gaulle's appeal of June 18, 1940, at the Mont Valerien memorial in Suresnes, outside of Paris, on June 18, 2017.

He won instant plaudits from France's closest ally Germany, with Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman hailing his "clear parliamentary majority".

Le Pen, who entered parliament for the first time in her career, told supporters her FN had won at least six seats - but the party was certain to fall short of its target of 15 seats.

With 57 percent of votes counted, the Interior Ministry said Sunday that Macron's Republic on the Move! party had won 41 percent of the vote.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has said Macron "has embodied trust, willingness and audacity".

While Melenchon is known for bold talk, his words underscored worry about an eventual all-powerful Macron who, Melenchon said, "is going to end up believing he walks on water". The polarizing far-right, anti-immigrant National Front, headed by Marine Le Pen, was on track to win only a handful of seats. But he has already defied the rules, and proven his doubters wrong, by blasting a hole through French party politics and transforming the face of the National Assembly.

"From the first round of the presidential election, we entered an implacable, inevitable mechanism which would lead to the triumph of the one who was chosen to defeat Marine Le Pen", analyst Jerome Sainte-Marie of pollster PollingVox said.

France's Macron to reshuffle government after parliament win