Despite low turnout, Emmanuel Macron marches on

French voters have put President Emmanuel Macron's party on course for a crushing parliamentary majority, though a record low turnout in the first round of voting raised concerns yesterday over the strength of his future mandate.

President Emmanuel Macron. Pic/AFPPresident Emmanuel Macron. Pic/AFP

French voters have put President Emmanuel Macron's party on course for a crushing parliamentary majority, though a record low turnout in the first round of voting raised concerns yesterday over the strength of his future mandate.

Projections showed Macron continuing his centrist revolution, with his Republique en Marche (Republic on the Move, REM) party and its ally MoDem tipped to win between 400 and 445 seats in the 577-member National Assembly in next Sunday's second round. Such a share would give Macron – who founded his party just a year ago – one of the biggest parliamentary majorities the modern French state has seen.

"France is back," Prime Minister Edouard Philippe declared triumphantly, calling the result a vote for the president's "confidence, will and daring". But government spokesman Christophe Castaner admitted the 49 per cent turnout – the lowest for six decades in such a vote – was "a failure of this election" and that Macron's team would need to reach out to those who stayed away. Agencies

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