Le Pen Wins Seat in French Assembly, Saving Her Political Career

Pauline Gross
June 19, 2017

Sunday, June 18, 2017, at 6:45 p.m. EDT: French newspaper Le Parisien reported French President Emmanuel Macron's party La République en Marche, which he started previous year, and ally Modem have secured 355 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly.

President Emmanuel Macron's Republique en Marche (REM) party were set to gain a massive majority in the French parliament, according to initial estimations on Sunday evening.

Polls show Macron's party party crushing France's traditional parties, the rightwing Republicans and Socialists, but also the far-right National Front of defeated presidential candidate Marine Le Pen which faces major disappointment.

Florian Philippot, her right-hand man in the National Front (FN), failed to win the seat he was fighting, and Gilbert Collard, another top adviser who was one of only two far-right lawmakers in the 2012-2017 parliament, lost his seat.

She won her northern constituency of Henin-Beaumont with a large majority and said would "fight with all necessary means the harmful projects of the government". The Socialists, who ruled the nation before Macron's independent presidential victory in May, were decimated and only won six percent of the vote. The stinging reality of defeat pushed party leader Jean-Christophe Cambadelis, who lost in last week's first-round vote, to resign.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's chief of staff, Peter Altmaier, wrote Sunday on Twitter that "France now has a strong president with a strong majority in parliament".

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The scale of the majority hands Macron, a pro-European Union centrist, a strong platform from which to make good on campaign promises to revive France's fortunes by cleaning up politics and relaxing regulations that investors say shackle the euro zone's second-biggest economy.

"We are the only force of resistance to the dilution of France, of its social model and its identity", she said, claiming the mainstream opposition parties were but "satellites" of the Macron power structure.

"The election of Mr (Emmanuel) Macron to the presidency of the Republic seems to have sent the country in a state of indifference and weariness vis-a-vis the Republic, which is very worrying", she said.

Macron's rivals did not see that the system could help a party created only a year ago, which had never fielded candidates in a parliamentary election before, and whose leader, at 39, had been unknown to the public three years ago. Macron's party, which didn't exist 14 months ago and offered novice candidates from civilian life, has drawn from left and right to fill its ranks, effectively blurring the traditional left-right political divide.

It was the first time a president had chosen a prime minister from outside his political family without being forced to, and the move chimed with French voters' weariness of the Socialists after a chaotic five years in power. At the end of the afternoon, turnout stood at only 35 percent - below last week's record low. His centrist Republic on the Move! party is expected to win more than 400 seats.

The conservative Republicans and its allies are set to form the largest opposition block with 97 to 133 seats.

Other reports by GizPress

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