By SYLVIE CORBET and JOHN LEICESTER, Associated Press
PARIS (AP) — Pollsters are projecting that French President Emmanuel Macron’s party is in position to win a crushing parliamentary majority following the first round Sunday of legislative elections marked by widespread voter apathy.
Pollsters’ projected that as many as one-third of votes went to Macron’s camp in the first stage of the two-part election — putting his candidates comfortably ahead of all opponents going into the decisive second round of voting next Sunday for the 577 seats in the lower-house National Assembly.
Pollsters estimated that 400 seats or more could end up in the hands of the Macron camp — and that the opposition in parliament would be fragmented as well as small.
The record-low turnout rate, however, took some shine off the achievement for Macron’s Republic on the Move! — a fledgling party fighting its first-ever election and dedicated to providing France’s youngest-ever president with the legislative majority he needs to be effective and enact his promised program of far-reaching change for France.
Voter rejection of old-style, established politics — already seen in the May 7 presidential vote that handed power to first-time 39-year-old candidate Macron — was again felt in the legislative vote.
Pollsters projected a disastrous result for the Socialists that held power in the last parliament and that the conservative Republicans could end up with fewer than 130 seats.
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Associated Press writers Nicolas Garriga, Phillipe Sotto and Angela Charlton contributed to this report.