Polls: Macron's brand new party to secure majority in France

Polls open for French parliamentary election

(AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani, File).

Others are not convinced, anxious that Macron will have too much power and face no scrutiny from a parliament packed with loyalists who owe their election success to him.

Paris: President Emmanuel Macron won a commanding majority in France's parliamentary election on Sunday, pollsters' estimates showed, sweeping aside the mainstream parties and securing a powerful mandate to push through his pro-business reforms.

Macron's Republic on the Move (REM) and its allies are tipped to win 400-470 seats in the 577-strong parliament.

Macron's success has been partly built on the overwhelming desire of voters to cast out the familiar faces of France's political class who are blamed for years of low growth, corruption, social tensions and high unemployment.

Mr Macron formed his party just over a year ago, and half of its candidates have little or no political experience.

A party needs 289 seats for a majority in the house. Abstention hit a record 51.29 percent in the first round, and is forecast to be 53 percent on Sunday, it said.

Opinion polls show that voters, while preparing to hand Macron a crushing majority, are actually hoping for a strong opposition to emerge in parliament.

But turnout was estimated to be extremely low, at around 44 percent, giving his critics grounds to claim he has no groundswell of support.

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As of 5pm local time (4pm BST) turnout was at 35.33 per cent, far behind the 46.42 turn out at the same time five years ago and 49.58 in 2007. In French elections, if no candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote in the first round, a runoff is held between the top two vote-getters.

Six ministers in Macron's government are seeking parliamentary seats, a common practice in France, and risk their government jobs if they lose.

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.

Macron said "Once the negotiations have started we should be well aware that it'll be more hard to move backwards".

Jean-Luc Mélenchon's far-left party will likely claim between 10-20 seats after accounting for 11% of the vote in the first round. "We're going to find ourselves with fewer opposition representatives than there are in Russian Federation".

Some voters seemed excited by a victory for Macron's party, while others were frustrated.

"I don't think we'll see a coalition this time but in the past it was a situation that worked".

With 75 percent of the votes counted Sunday night, the Interior Ministry says Macron's party has won 42 percent of the vote, followed by the conservative Republicans in a distant second with 22 percent.

Key battles on Sunday include far-right leader Marine Le Pen's attempt to win her first seat in parliament in the northeastern former coal mining town of Henin-Beaumont.

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