Emmanuel Macron's centrist party predicted to secure large majority

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As of late Sunday evening there were 156 women lawmakers elected to France's National Assembly, already more than ever before, and with 148 seats as yet undecided.

Sunday saw a devastating defeat for The Socialist Party, which had until recently held the country's presidency.

He added that the party needs to change its ideas and its organization and that a "collective leadership" is going to replace him.

The other incumbent, Gillard Collard, won by just 123 votes over a former bullfighter, Marie Sara, one of dozens of new MPs in the REM party with no prior political experience.

A similar law passed by the Socialist government in which Macron served sparked months of sometimes violent protests and sporadic strikes, during which uncollected rubbish piled up on the streets of Paris.

Macron left a position in the Socialist government to run an independent presidential campaign.

"Through their vote, a wide majority of the French have chosen hope over anger", Prime Minister Edouard Phillipe told the AP.

Le Pen has spent the past six years since taking charge of the FN trying to expunge the xenophobic, anti-Semitic ethos engendered by her father, who co-founded the party in 1972.

"This majority will have a mission: to work for France", the PM said.

"We are the only force of resistance to the watering down of France, of its social model and its identity", she said defiantly.

At a joint press conference, Merkel threw her support behind Macron's call for a "historic reconstruction" of the European Union, even expressing some openness to a possible change to key treaties governing the bloc. Experts partly blamed voter fatigue following the May election of Macron, plus voter disappointment with politics. En Marche won 319 of those seats while the Socialist party which had 284 seats previously, will with its allies maintain only 46 seats.

Les Republicains' interim leader Francois Baroin said "the verdict of the ballots is clear" before wishing Macron success.

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The protesters were angered when no one from the council came out to address their concerns, reporters said . On Saturday afternoon 58 people were confirmed to be missing, presumed dead.

The outcome falls well short of the National Front's (FN) target of a "massive" presence in parliament and also misses its objective of having enough troops to form a parliamentary group, meaning its voice in the lower house will be limited.

This victory for the LREM - a movement launched by Macron less than a year ago, and fielding a team of political novices - is being viewed as a slap for mainstream French parties.

Ultra-leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon, who Macron also defeated in the presidential vote, said he won in his Marseille district.

Based on partial vote count made by Kantar Sofres-onepoint pollster, the LREM alone won 315 seats, more than 289 seats needed for a majority in the 577-member National Assembly.

President Macron wants to use his mandate to strip away some employment protections to encourage hiring and to toughen national security in the wake of recent terror attacks.

Voter turnout for both rounds of the general election was sharply down from 2012 and the second round was estimated to be around 43 percent - a record low.

France's youngest leader since Napoleon, Macron emerged from relative obscurity to score a thumping win in the presidential election in May. The Union of Democrats and Independents got 18 seats.

The second round of the parliamentary election was marked by low voter turnout and was down sharply on five years ago.

During last Sunday's first round of voting, LREM garnered 32.3 percent of the vote.

Yet, there were indications that far less than half of France's 47.5 million voters bothered to cast their ballots.

The party is expected to win only a handful of seats despite its third-place showing in the first round.

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