Emmanuel Macron’s centrist La Republique En Marche is projected to win a huge majority in the French Parliament, according to exit estimates compiled for CNN affiliate BFMTV by Elabe.
Macron’s fledgling party is expected to win between 415 and 445 seats in the lower house after taking a projected 32.3% of the vote.
Such a margin of victory in the 577-seat house would give Macron the majority he so badly craves to further his political revolution. The 39-year-old’s La Republique En Marche (LREM) party is hoping to make huge gains and inflict a further blow on the country’s traditional ruling parties.
It would be a remarkable achievement for Macron, who won the French presidency last month without the support of a traditional mainstream party.
Instead, his En Marche! movement helped carry him to a convincing election victory over far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.
The move appears to have paid off as Macron’s party, which has grown out of his grass-roots movement, is projected to record a stunning victory.
“We are grateful for the trust you have placed in all the new faces of the Republic,” Catherine Barbaroux, the party’s president, told supporters after seeing the projected results.
How the elections work
The final results will be confirmed next Sunday after the second round of voting. A number of candidates will face a run-off.
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.
The run-offs take place next Sunday when the final results will be known.
Both the Republican and Socialist parties, which have traditionally governed during the time of the Fifth Republic, struggled with turnout, which was projected at 49.5% by Elabe.
The Republicans are projected to have taken 20.9% of the vote, which is predicted to result in the party winning between 80-100 seats.
The Socialists have an estimated 9% of the vote, leaving the party with between 30-40 seats, way down from the 277 it held in the outgoing parliament.
The National Front is expected to take 13.1%, leaving it with between one and four seats, while Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s far-left party is expected to claim between 10-20 seats after accounting for 11% of the vote.
Florian Philippot, the deputy chairman of the National Front, said his party was “disappointed” with the result.
“We’ve maybe been disappointed by the score and we have paid the price, I think, for a low turnout,” he told reporters.
Why is this important for Macron?
The success of those parties, however, is likely to pale into insignificance should La Republique En Marche secure the mandate Macron requires to govern successfully.
France is suffering from high unemployment, a stagnant economy and security worries. The government has also struggled to cope with immigration and integration.
But for him to be able to implement his reforms, he needs to be able to govern — and that means having a majority in Parliament.