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18 June 2017

Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche set to win majority in French parliament

The centrist outsider President has pulled off a second victory.

By Julia Rampen

Emmanuel Macron’s movement-turned-party En Marche and its allies are set to win a majority in the French parliamentary elections, according to polls. 

If Macron is to control the parliament, he and his allies must win 289 seats. Exit polls suggest his movement,  La République en Marche, and its ally the Democratic Movement will together take 355. 

Macron overturned the rules of French politics in May, when he beat the far-right Front National candidate Marine Le Pen, to become president. He did so as an outsider, who declared he was “neither left nor right”, in a country long defined by its centre-right and centre-left establishment parties.

He rose to victory with the help of his movement, En Marche (Forward), and is a passionate advocate of the EU. He had never run for office before he launched his bid for presidency.

Ahead of the parliamentary elections, En Marche called for locals of all constituencies to apply and run for MP under their banner. It received hundreds of applications a day, Half of the candidates were political newcomers and half were women.

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Although some pundits predicted Macron could win a landslide as large as 455 seats, his comfortable victory nevertheless means he has scope to carry out his reformist agenda, which includes controversial labour reforms. 

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As Pauline Bock recently noted in The New Statesman, one of the lesser-told stories of En Marche’s success has been the disintegration of the traditional centre-left, the Socialists.