Emmanuel Macron’s upstart centrist party won the first round of parliamentary elections Sunday, positioning the new French president to wield a commanding majority at home and push for change on the European stage.
Macron’s La République en Marche and its centrist ally, MoDem, won 32.3% of the vote nationwide, the Interior Ministry said. The center-right Les Républicains and its allies came in second with 21.6% of the vote. The first-round vote puts Macron’s party and MoDem on track to win a majority of 415 to 455 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly in the second-round vote a week from now, polling firm Ipsos Sopra-Steria said.
The top two vote-getters in each district on Sunday advance to the second-round runoff, as well as candidates who garner support from more than 12.5% of registered voters, though reaching that threshold may be difficult given low turnout on Sunday. The Interior Ministry said 51.3% of registered voters didn’t vote, which Ipsos Sopra-Steria said is the highest percentage of abstentions on record for a legislative election in France.
More voters are expected to switch in the second round to candidates from La République en Marche, as a centrist party, than to candidates from parties on the right or the left, polling firms said.
Such a landslide would deliver a coup de grace to France’s political establishment, giving Macron a strong mandate to implement policies he says are needed to stir the sluggish national economy and overhaul the European Union.