Pollsters project Macron on course to dominate parliament

En Marche, the fledgling political party created by French President Emanuel Macron, rolled up impressive margins in the first round of parliamentary elections this weekend.

At the close of voting, pollster Elabe projected Macron's party and its centre-right Modem ally would win 32.6 per cent of the first round vote.

According to pollsters' estimates Sunday night, the party could get between 400 and 440 seats in the 577-strong lower house of parliament.

Macron also plans to quickly pass a law to strengthen security measures - effectively making the state of emergency permanent, after multiple Islamic extremist attacks in France - and another one that he says will put more ethics into French politics.

If no candidate manages to achieve that target, then all candidates who won at least 12.5% of registered voters go to the second round, where the winner will advance to Parliament.

His party is projected to win well beyond an absolute majority in the 577-seat National Assembly, followed by the conservative Republicans.

The right-wing Republicans - who had hoped to rebound from their humiliation in the presidential vote - were shown trailing in second with a predicted 70-130 seats while Marine Le Pen's far-right National Front (FN) was forecast to garner between one and 10 seats. Indeed, some believe that Macron's alliance could capture three-quarters of the seats in the lower house after next week's second round.

"For the past month, the president has shown confidence, willingness and daring in France and on the international stage", Philippe said, calling the result a vindication of Macron's "winning strategy".

Macron, who won the presidency by being a pro-European centrist, is hoping to carry out far-reaching reforms to overhaul the country's political system and economy.

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The FN currently has two seats in parliament and had been seeking to reach the 15-seat threshold to form a parliamentary group that would give it more speaking time and access to top roles within the assembly.

Very few lawmakers are expected to be elected directly in the first round - which requires an outright majority accounting for at least a quarter of registered voters. The far-right National Front (FN) was seen third with 13.1-14 percent.

"If we really want him (Macron) to change things he needs a majority", 67-year-old voter Irena Plewa, a pensioner, said at a bustling Paris food market.

Polls suggest the elections will strongly favor Macron's party and dramatically shake up French politics, punishing the traditional left and right parties and leaving no single strong opposition force.

The head of the conservative Republicans party, Francois Baroin, also urged voters to turn out in larger numbers next week to help ensure that Macron's party faces a robust opposition.

"It's a renewal of the political class", said Jose Jeffrey, a health ministry administrator who voted LREM. Half of his legislative candidates are women.

They include Marie Sara, a retired bullfighter, who went through to a runoff against FN stalwart Gilbert Collard in southern France, and star mathematician Cedric Villani.

I love the realism of that statement. Veteran observers recall the debacle of 1993 which produced just 57 Socialist and allied deputies.

French polling agencies are projecting that President Emmanuel Macron's new centrist party crushed traditional rivals in the first round of parliamentary elections likely to drastically reshape French politics.

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