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France

Macron unveils list of 428 candidates, ex-PM Valls candidacy rejected

media This file photo taken on April 26, 2017 in Arras shows French presidential election candidate for the En Marche ! movement Emmanuel Macron reacting as he gives a speech during a meeting ahead of the second and final round of the presidential election. Eric FEFERBERG / AFP

French president elect Emmanuel Macron on Thursday unveiled a list of 428 candidates for June's parliamentary elections, 52 percent of whom are new to politics and half of whom are women.

The presidential election left France's traditional parties on the sidelines, with the conservative Republicans and ruling Socialists eliminated in the first round, and Macron facing far-right leader Marine Le Pen in last week's run off.

Macron has said half of the candidates for his year-old La République en Marche (Republic on the Move) for the 577 seats up for grabs in June 11-18 elections will be new to politics.

The secretary general of Macron's La République en Marche, Richard Ferrand, said that 52 percent of those chosen from more than 19,000 applicants "have never held elected office" and that 214 were women.

This week former prime minister Manuel Valls shocked his Socialist party colleagues by saying it was "dead" and announcing he wanted to be a candidate under Macron's banner.

But Macron's party on Thursday rejected his bid to run as its candidate in June's polls, but said it wouldn't run a rival against him in his constituency.

The Republicans party, whose candidate François Fillon crashed out in the first round of the presidential election after being charged over giving his wife allegedly "fake" jobs on the public payroll, is also aiming to become the majority party in parliament.

That would force Macron, who will be sworn in on Sunday, to share power with them in what is known as "cohabitation" in France.

A poll showed that only 52 percent of voters want a pro-Macron government to emerge from the elections, while 42 percent favoured a legislature that would be a check on the new leader.

Optimism seemed muted too, with 55 percent of respondents to the Elabe survey saying they thought Macron would "not improve things for the French people".

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