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Macron’s Party Wins Clear Majority In French Parliament


French President Emmanuel Macron waves as he leaves city hall after casting his ballot on June 18.

French President Emmanuel Macron's centrist party has won a clear majority in the lower house of parliament after the second round of voting on June 18, official results show.

With nearly all of the ballots counted for the June 18 election, Macron's Republique en Marche (Republic on the Move) party and its allies won 351 seats in the 577-member National Assembly -- a clear majority but below many projections that had estimated the final total to be well over 400.

About 41 of the Macron bloc's seats were won by his party's allies in the centrist Democratic Movement of Justice Minister Francois Bayrou.

The leader of the conservative Republican party, Francois Baroin, wished Marcon "good luck," but he declared his party the main opposition force in the parliament after his center-right bloc’s second-place finish with 126.

Allies of Macron, 39, allies hailed his new party's big victory.

"Through their vote, a wide majority of the French have chosen hope over anger," Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said. "This is an opportunity for France. One year ago, no one would have imagined such a political renewal."

Philippe vowed "total" determination to work on major reforms, including an easing of the country's strict labor laws and a reform of the pension system.

The new session of parliament will begin on June 27, with half of the candidates running in Macron’s party having no previous political experience.

A record number of women will be serving in the parliament, with 156 expected to become lawmakers in the National Assembly.

Catherine Barbaroux, Republique en Marche's acting president, hailed the increase of women's share of parliamentary seats.

"For the first time under the Fifth Republic, the National Assembly will be deeply renewed -- more diverse, younger," she said.

"But above all, allow me to rejoice, because this is a historic event for the representation of women in the National Assembly," she said.

Both far-right and radical-left opponents pointed to the low turnout of about 42 percent, saying it casts doubt on Macron’s political mandate.

Far-right leader Marine Le Pen, who lost to Macron in the May 7 presidential runoff, won her first parliamentary seat, gaining about 58 percent of the vote in Henin-Beaumont in northern France.

She will lead at least seven other lawmakers from the National Front into the parliament, not enough to form a bloc in the assembly.

The Socialist Party, which had been in power prior to Macron’s victory, has secured 28 seats, the lowest level in the postwar period and down from 280 in the previous parliament.

With reporting by AFP, dpa, AP, and Reuters

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