France’s Macron eyes next stage in revolution

France’s parliament underwent a major transformation on Sunday, with President Emmanuel Macron’s winning centrist army, half of whom have never held office, wresting between 355 and 403 seats for the Republic on the Move party (REM) from the left and right.The party has gained 295 out of 577 seats, the Interior Ministry said. Opinion polls before the vote had projected Macron could win as many as 470 seats.Candidates from the conservative party, The Republicans, are expected to form the largest opposition group, with 70-110 seats, according to pollsters, with other parties sharing the rest.Compared to 2012 election, the anti-immigration party improved its performance after snatching 6 seats compared to two now, to represent “the only force of resistance to the dilution of France, its social model and identity”, according to Le Pen.Turnout, though, was on course for a record low, a sign of voter fatigue after seven months of campaigning and voting – and also of disillusionment and anger with politics that could eventually complicate Macron’s reform drive.As ballots were still being counted, Macron’s party held around 42% of the vote followed by the Republicans on 22%. This was a lower turnout than the first round of voting on June 11, in which 48.7 percent of the electorate came out to vote.It also undermined the right’s argument that Macron was just a continuation of unpopular Socialist President Francois Hollande, under whom he had served as economy minister from 2014 to 2016. While REM is set to crush its rivals, the 39-year-old President could struggle to get his plans for far-reaching labour reforms past the fiery French streets.”This is France, not Russian Federation”, far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon said Friday on Europe 1 radio.Le Pen said she won with about 58 percent of the vote Sunday in Henin-Beaumont in northern France.By choosing a young conservative mayor for prime minister, he sowed division and discouragement in an already humiliated Republicans party.At home, Macron has redrawn the political map by attracting moderates from the left and the right to his new party which has created a new centrist force at the heart of French politics.Socialist party leader Jean-Christophe Cambadelis says that President “Emmanuel Macron’s triumph is uncontestable, the defeat of the left is unavoidable, and the defeat of the Socialist party is irrevocable”.Le Pen was roundly criticised for a poor performance in a brutal TV debate with Macron days before the presidential runoff that probably cost her votes.”A year ago, no one would have imagined political renewal like this”.The party is expected to win only a handful of seats despite its third-place showing in the first round.But Jean-Luc Melenchon, the far-left candidate he defeated in May, said an all-powerful Mr Macron “is going to end up believing he walks on water”.Far-right Leader of National Front Party, Marine Le Pen, has won a seat in the French parliament with her party getting at least six lawmakers. The 35-year-old is a controversial figure within the FN, blamed by some for pushing a virulently anti-EU line that scared off voters in the presidential election.That would allow Macron to move fast with promised legislation, notably on changing labor laws to make hiring and firing easier.In late April, after Le Pen qualified to face off with Macron, Bruno Jeanbart of the OpinionWay polling institute said the FN could hope to win between 20 and 50 seats.