Rout by Macron's party expected in French parliament vote


French President Emmanuel Macron won a large majority in the lower house of parliament Sunday, freeing his hand to implement far-reaching reforms.

Candidates from the conservative party, The Republicans, are expected to form the largest opposition group, with 70-110 seats, according to pollsters. His fresh out-of-the-box party, La Republique en Marche, is forecast to win a thumping majority, but the party is so new there have been reports some rural polling stations were unable to open, or opened late because of a lack of election officials and monitors.

Le Pen said she won with about 58 percent of the vote Sunday in Henin-Beaumont in northern France.

French president Emmanuel Macron is holding a series of meetings with European leaders in Paris, as Brexit negotiations are due to start next week.

The National Front is expected to win only a handful of seats despite its third-place showing in the first round.

But despite the zest for political renewal, the vote failed to generate much excitement.

That's the biggest victory in at least 15 years, though voter turnout was the lowest ever for a French parliamentary election, a sign of the disenfranchisement and frustration that has characterized this year's campaigns.

After a crushing defeat, Jean-Christophe Cambadelis resigned Sunday from his post as head of the Socialist Party, which dominated the outgoing assembly but was flattened by the unpopularity of former President Francois Hollande. "We're not voting for individuals but for a programme", Dumay added.

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.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, a centre-right politician who joined Mr Macron's movement, said "through their vote, a wide majority of the French have chosen hope over anger".

French authorities say 17.8 percent of voters have cast ballots so far in the final round of parliamentary elections, down from previous votes, amid concern about low turnout.

Around half of REM's candidates are virtual unknowns drawn from diverse fields of academia, business or local activism.

The hard-left France Unbowed is also struggling to maintain the momentum it had during the presidential election.

Ultra-leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon, who Macron also defeated in the presidential vote, said he won in his Marseille district.

His confident start at home, where he has concentrated on trying to restore the lost prestige of the president, and his decisive action on the global stage has led to a host of positive headlines.