France's Macron to reshuffle government after parliament win

Macron party wins massive majority in French parliament

French president Emmanuel Macron was today preparing to use his massive new parliamentary majority to secure the best deal for his country in a Brexit Europe. With its allies, it could get fewer than 50 seats, according to projections.

The other half are a mix of centrists and moderate left- and right-wing politicians drawn from established parties including ally MoDem.

The Socialist Party, which dominated the outgoing Assembly, got only 29 seats.

The second round of the elections saw a complete transformation of parliament with 75% of new faces - but, also, a record number of women, with 225, against 155 in the old parliament.

"Through their vote, a wide majority of the French have chosen hope over anger", said Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, reiterating his "total" determination to work on major reforms in the coming months.

The LREM win is big enough to give the new president a good chance of weathering the inexperience and diversity of his new political army, and to push forward with bold and controversial labour reforms, says the BBC's Lucy Williamson in Paris.

Merkel has repeatedly stressed that it was crucial not only for France, but for Germany, to help Macron succeed.

However a projected historic low turnout likely to cloud Macron's triumph to have free hand to put on the ground his recipe for the eurozone second main powerhouse. French voters are casting ballot.

The Interior Ministry said voter turnout stood at 35.33 per cent at 5 pm local time (4pm BST) - an hour before polling stations closed around most of the country.

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The May 7 election of the Macron, 39, himself untested, upended France's political landscape, a phenomenon that continued with the parliamentary victory of a party that didn't exist 14 months ago.

But former education minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem - a one-time Socialist star - was beaten by an REM candidate in the central city of Lyon, while former labour minister Myriam El Khomri lost to Macron-supporting candidate Pierre-Yves Bournazel in the capital.

"Our people have entered a form of general civic strike, which demonstrates the state of exhaustion of institutions that pretend to organise society with a skimpy majority that has all the powers", radical left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon said on Sunday.

His La République en Marche [LREM] party won an estimated 359 of the 577 seats in the National Assembly, some way short of predictions last week that forecast his fledging party could finish with as many as 450.

Macron also wants to clean up politics to change the image of a political class dominated by career politicians, peppered with corruption and losing credibility.

Le Pen was elected MP for the first time, in Henin-Beaumont, in Northern France, a stronghold of her National Front (FN) party. The stinging reality of defeat pushed party leader Jean-Christophe Cambadelis, who lost in last week's first-round vote, to resign.

Le Pen said nevertheless that the FN, "against a bloc that represents the interests of the oligarchy, are the only force of resistance".

Having never held elected office, he seized on the growing resentment towards a political elite perceived as out of touch, and on public frustration at its failure to create jobs and spur stronger growth, to win the presidency.

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