Emmanuel Macron founded his political party, La République En Marche, about a year ago, riding its centrist platform to the presidency and handily defeating the right-wing National Front’s Marine Le Pen and the country’s two Establishment parties. Yet Macron’s agenda immediately faced uncertainty, as En Marche undertook the challenge of winning seats in France’s parliament. Macron promised to run a candidate in all 577 districts — in part by wooing members of the mainstream parties to his cause. The stakes are high: Without claiming a majority or cobbling together a productive coalition, Macron’s presidency could be stymied shortly after it began.
But Macron seems to be up to this challenge, too. En Marche and its centrist ally MoDem (for Mouvement Démocrate) won 32.3 percent of the vote in the first round of voting on Sunday. That positions Macron to win a sweeping majority of more than 400 seats in Parliament. This for a political party that has zero representatives now.
The center-right Republicans came in second in first-round voting, with the party and its affiliates winning 20.56 percent of the vote. The National Front came in third, with 13.20 percent of the vote, and the center-left Socialists — the party of Macron’s unpopular predecessor François Hollande — eked out less than 10 percent of the vote in fourth. The Socialists are now on pace to plunge from 300 seats to something like 35. The National Front will likely gain seats, but is expected to fall short of the 15-seat threshold that gives it the power to form a parliamentary group.
En Marche’s massive victory is tamped down slightly by the very low voter turnout — less than 50 percent of the eligible electorate cast a vote. The final round of voting will take place next Sunday, on June 18.