Voters in France on Sunday went back to the polls to choose lawmakers in a two-stage election that will determine how much power new President, Emmanuel Macron will actually have. If polls are to be believed, it will be a lot.
The latest surveys suggest Macron’s Republic on the Move movement, or REM, will win a comfortable majority in the 577-seat National Assembly, allowing him to push through his plans to loosen French labour laws and simplify its tax system.
The 39-year-old president Macron was elected in May after creating a centrist political movement that took millions of votes away from the two parties that have dominated French politics for decades.
Macron has enjoyed a political honeymoon since he beat far-right candidate Marine Le Pen to become France’s youngest-ever president on May 7, naming a cabinet that crosses left-right lines and making an assured impression in meetings with US President Donald Trump and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
During his one month in office, he helped in further weakening the Socialist Party and the center-right Republicans by poaching some of their leading members for cabinet positions.
Opinions polls show his untested party could take 30 percent of the first-round v ote, putting it on track to secure a landslide in next Sunday’s second round.
The party has already come first in 10 of the 11 French overseas constituencies that voted before the mainland.
However few MPs are expected to be elected in the first round.
If no candidate wins over 50 per cent, the two top-placed contenders go into the second round – as well as any candidate who won the votes of over 12.5 per cent of the electorate.
More than 50,000 police are on patrol in a country still under a state of emergency following a wave of jihadist attacks that have killed more than 230 people since 2015.