Macron seeks majority as France votes for new Parl

If no candidate manages to achieve that target, then all candidates who won at least 12.5% of registered voters go to the second round, where the victor will advance to Parliament.

He has drawn candidates from a cross-section of society with a former bullfighter, a Nobel Prize victor and a an ex-fighter pilot all hoping to win a seat.

France goes to the polls today with President Emmanuel Macron seeking the parliamentary majority he requires to bring about his political revolution.

Macron's party are contesting 526 constituencies out of a possible 577.

Marine Le Pen's FN party was left disappointed as she struggles to rebound from her bruising defeat by Macron in the presidential run-off, with the party's result largely unchanged from the first round of the 2012 vote.

Jean-Christophe Cambadelis, head of the Socialist party that was in power until a month ago, acknowledged that the first round marked an "unprecedented" setback for the party, set to win a paltry 30-40 seats, and the broader left.

"A political novice, Emmanuel Macron is set to pull off the most spectacular grand slam of the Fifth Republic", wrote Laurent Joffrin of the left-leaning Liberation daily.

In the second round of the French presidential elections on May 7, 2017, Macron defeated far-right National Front's leader Marine Le Pen, by 66.1% to 33.9% of the votes.

Still, Macron's party appears likely to triumph in the runoff, putting the French president in a strong position to enact his reforms, including a battle with French labor unions that overwhelmed his predecessor, François Hollande.

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The lower turnout was mainly attributed to two major reasons - too intensive election arrangements, and the public's doubt over the French-style democracy and its effectiveness. If there is no clear victor, all candidates who win more than 12.5 percent in the first round qualify for a runoff.

"For the third time in a row, millions of you have confirmed your support for the President of the republic's policy of renewal, unity and reconquest", Mr Philippe said in a televised statement.

Pollsters forecast the Republicans would win 20.9 percent, the FN 13.1 percent, and the Socialists with a grouping of left-wing parties 9 percent.

A second and final round of France's parliament election is scheduled for June 18.

Mr Macron, 39, needs a majority to push through the changes that he promised in his campaign.

Having an absolute majority at the National Assembly, France's lower and more powerful house of parliament, will allow Macron to govern more at ease during his five-year terms.

Macron's victory was so massive that it was not significantly overshadowed by the fact that the turnout in the first round of the French National Assembly vote was only 50%, the lowest since 1958.

Macron's camp is expected to significantly boost its score in Sunday's second round with voters fed up with mainstream politics keen to try out his team, half of which is composed of rookie politicians. Unlike Macron, however, they all came from long- established parties. In a bid to renew the political scene, many have never stood for office before, such as Marie Sara, a rare female bullfighter, who is taking on a senior member of Le Pen's National Front in southern France, Gilbert Collard.

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