French President Emmanuel Macron's new centrist party 'Republique en Marche' (Republic on the Move) crushed traditional rivals in the first round of parliamentary elections.
And this possible victory may very well help him to reshape French politics.
Seat projections show that Macron's camp could win between 390 and 445 seats in the 577-member National Assembly after next Sunday's second round.
This would mean that his party, the Republic on the Move, would continue the political revolution that has left France's traditional parties in tatters.
However, the low turnout is a sign that final results are not secured yet.
“This isn't a done deal,” Catherine Barbaroux, the Interim president of Macron's party, said Sunday evening. “The low voter participation must encourage us to continue in our efforts to strengthen civic engagement that is at the heart of the Republic on the Move program and was at the heart of why the movement was created. This will be one of the priorities in the future of our movement in the next few weeks."
Barbaroux added that they will now spend all their energy into pushing people to vote next Sunday.
The right-wing Republicans - who had hoped to rebound from their defeat in the presidential vote - are trailing in second place with 80 to 132 seats.
“Because our project aims at getting all the French people together, we want to tell those who decided not to vote, or who made a different choice during this first round, or who expressed their anger using this vote... we want to tell those potential voters that the country needs balanced powers, rather than having it all concentrated in one party,” Republicans’ leader Francois Baroin said on Sunday.
French far-right leader Marine Le Pen blamed a poor showing by her National Front (FN) party in the first round on low turnout resulting from what she said was a skewed electoral system; referring to the non-proportional system.
“This catastrophic abstention rate should raise questions over this method of voting, which turns millions of our compatriots off of voting,” explained Le Pen.
Le Pen's party will struggle to win the 15 seats it would need to form a parliamentary group. Her party is expected to take only 10.
The radical-left France Insoumise (France Unbowed) party of Jean-Luc Melenchon also fell short of expectations. His camp is tipped to only take between 10 and 23 seats.
“The huge rate of abstention shows that there isn't a majority in this country wanting the destruction of the labor code and the reduction of public freedoms, nor a mandate for ecological irresponsibility, nor to court the rich: all the things that are on the president's party's programme,” said Melenchon.
The biggest blow though seems to be for the Socialist Party.
Jean-Christophe Cambadélis, the head of the party, admitted they faced "unprecedented" losses which could see the party lose more than 200 seats.
Projections show the party will likely only gain 15 to 40 seats in the new national assembly, a major drop from their current 277.
“The first round of parliamentary elections is marked by the unprecedented decline of the Left as a whole and in particular of the Socialist Party,” said Cambadélis.
“Everything indicates that 'Republic on the Move' has won an absolute majority. If this absolute majority is further amplified next Sunday, then there will be virtually no real opposition and we will have a National Assembly without any true counterbalance, without a democratic debate worthy of that name," added the head of the Socialist Party.
The record low turnout in almost six decades, with an abstention rate at 51.2 percent suggests a sharp drop in interest among voters after the presidential election in May.
Under France’s election rules, low voter turnout could also see fewer candidates make it through to the second round next Sunday.
Turnout was at a record low. Read more here.
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