12 June, 2017
French President Emmanuel Macron (C) waves as he leaves the polling station after voting in the first round of the French legislatives elections in Le Touquet, northern France, 11 June 2017. French voters are choosing lawmakers in the lower house of parliament in a.
Former French presidential candidate for the far-left party "La France Insoumise" (France Unbowed), Jean-Luc Melenchon speaks with journalists after the first round of the French legislative elections in the 4th district of Marseille, France, 11 June 2017.
France's 2017 parliamentary vote is set to take place on June 11 and June 18.
The estimates showed Macron's one-year-old REM and MoDem winning between 32 and 33 percent in the first round, ahead of the Republicans on 21-21.5 percent and the FN on 13-14 percent.
Record-low turnout, however, took some shine off the achievement.
Jean-Christophe Cambadelis, a senior figure in the French Socialist Party, recognized the "unprecedented retreat" of the Socialist party but also argued it would be a bad result for democracy in France if Macron benefited from a "monopoly on democratic representation".
Cambadelis called on voters to favor more political pluralism in the second round.
Parisian voter Thibault Gouache said he was keen to see fresh faces in the parliament.
Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has congratulated Macron over the "great success" of his party after projections showed his win.
The National Front of far-right leader Marine Le Pen looked unlikely to convert her strong showing in the presidential election into anything more than a small handful of legislative seats and certainly not enough to make the party into a major opposition force.
Runner-up in France's presidential election, Le Pen urged "patriotic" voters to turn out en masse in the second round June 18 and boost her party's small presence in the National Assembly.
Mounir Mahjoubi, junior minister in charge of digital affairs, said on BFM television that voters have acknowledged that the first weeks of Mr Macron's presidency "have been exemplary" and "have allowed the French to see there is a path that suits them". With 46% of votes counted from Sunday's balloting, the Interior Ministry said En Marche had more than 26% of votes.
Far-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon, who came in a strong fourth place in the presidential vote with almost 20 percent support, is running for a parliamentary seat in the southern city of Marseille.
Voters said polls that had predicted a large majority for Macron's camp likely dissuaded people from turning out.
"Chancellor Merkel: My honest congratulations to Emmanuel Macron for the great success of his party in the first round".
Macron's prime minister, Edouard Philippe, confidently declared Sunday night that the second round vote would give the assembly a "new face".
Polling agencies also project a historically low turnout of around 50 percent, reflecting fatigue after a roller-coaster election season that brought Macron to power last month.
The United Kingdom held a snap general election last Thursday, which resulted in a hung parliament as the Conservatives failed to secure an overall majority in the House of Commons and fell short of the required 326 seats, reports Sputnik.
If no candidate wins over 50 percent, the two top-placed contenders go into the second round - along with any other candidate who garners at least 12.5 percent of registered voters. That compared to 48 percent at the same time in the first round five years ago and 49 percent in 2002.
Newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron's political party La Republique En Marche!
Some 7,882 candidates are running for 577 seats in the National Assembly in Sunday's first round of the two-stage legislative elections.