French President Emmanuel Macron’s newly established party has won a majority in parliamentary elections despite a record-low turnout.
Macron’s Republic on the Move (LREM) and its Modem allies won 351 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly, the lower house of the French parliament, media reported on Monday.
The Republicans and their allies would form the opposition, while the Socialist Party, in power for the past five years, won its lowest number of seats in the postwar Fifth Republic.
Due to the low turnout, 90 seats remained undecided, still giving LREM a majority.
“This is an opportunity for France. One year ago, no one would have imagined such a political renewal,” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said in a statement following the second-round vote on Sunday.
Nina Halimi, a student activist, said, “This is a very good result, when Macron was not long ago predicted that he would be unable to win a majority in the Assembly.”
Macron plans to pursue his social and economic policies, including a change in labor laws, downsizing the public sector, and investing in job training and renewable energy.
The M&M alliance
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is a strong supporter of Macron. Right after the results emerged on Monday, she hailed his party’s victory in the French parliamentary election.
Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, quoted the chancellor on social media as congratulating Macron for winning a “clear parliamentary majority.”
Seibert said Merkel was looking forward to “good cooperation for Germany, France, Europe.”
Germany and France are the European Union’s two economic powerhouses and traditionally provide the spirit and willpower needed to keep the member states united in the bloc.
Meanwhile, the voter turnout at just under 44 percent demonstrated a sense of distrust and political disillusionment among the French nation. Some observers say former president Francois Hollande’s weak performance may have discouraged many French people from voting.