President Emmanuel Macron has won a commanding majority in France’s parliamentary election, sweeping aside traditional parties and securing a powerful mandate for pro-business reforms.
The result, based on official figures and pollster projections, redraws France’s political landscape, humiliating the Socialist and conservative parties that alternated in power for decades until Mr Macron’s election in May.
Three pollsters projected that President Macron’s Republic on the Move (LREM) and its Modem allies would win 355 to 365 seats in the 577-seat lower house, fewer than previously forecast.
They predicted the conservative Republicans and their allies would form the largest opposition bloc with 125 to 131 seats, while the Socialist Party, in power for the past five years, and its partners would secure 41 to 49 seats, their lowest ever in the postwar Fifth Republic.
Official figures with 90 seats still left to be decided show LREM has already won its majority.
“This is an opportunity for France. One year ago no one would have imagined such a political renewal,” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said in a statement.
Voter turnout was projected to be a record low at about 42 per cent.
The high abstention rate underlines that Macron will have to tread carefully with reforms in a country with muscular trade unions and a history of street protests that have forced many a past government to dilute new legislation.
French far-right leader Marine Le Pen was elected to parliament along with seven other National Front candidates, a result that beat worse-case scenarios for the party but will not be enough to paper over deep divisions.
The outcome falls well short of the National Front’s (FN) target of a “massive” presence in parliament and also misses its objective of having enough seats to form a parliamentary group, meaning its voice in the lower house will be limited.
Nevertheless, the anti-establishment party fared better than pollsters forecast over the past few days and has a greater presence in parliament than the past five years, when it had only two MPs.