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France French press review Press review

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French press review 19 June 2017


A clear victory for President Emmanuel Macron, but a result tarnished by a record number of stay-aways. That's more or less what the French papers are saying about the outcome of yesterday's second round of voting in elections for the parliament.

"Full house despite empty ballot boxes," reads the main headline in Communist Party daily l'Humanité.

Catholic paper La Croix says this was a success for Macron but the poor turnout suggests that the electorate is not necessarily ready to embrace the president's vision, nor prepared to accept his plans for change.

Right-wing Le Figaro says Macron has won everything hands down.

Business daily Les Echos says this has been a remarkable victory, "A winning bet".

With around 350 seats, Macron's men and women will have the widely predicted absolute majority. But their control of the National Assembly will be less overwhelming than had been predicted after the first round.

France swept by political tidal wave

France has been swept by a political tidal wave according to Alexis Brézet, the boss at Le Figaro. Macron's party came from nowhere and is now everywhere says Laurent Joffrin at left-leaning Libération.

L'Opinion says this is a level of success which no one, probably not even Emmanuel Macron himself, could have predicted.

Les Echos warns that the result will make the president's job of legislating much more straightforward but will also raise public expectations.

Record level of voter disinterest

All the papers point to the record level of voter disinterest in yesterday's proceedings, 57 percent of registered electors choosing to stay away.

Says l'Humanité, this creates a paradoxical situation of a new power in the national parliament, without the full support of the nation.

This is anything but an open invitation to run the country as the president wishes, we are told. If the new majority fails to proceed with humility and method, it will rapidly find itself put back onside by the street, a reference to the French propensity for going on strike to remind governments who is really in charge.

High-profile winners and losers

The leader of the far-right National Front, Marine Le Pen, has won a parliamentary seat for the first time; former Socialist prime minister Manuel Valls thinks he's won, but so does his opponent, Farida Amrani of the hard left, so there'll have to be a recount. The first count gave Valls an advantage of just 139 votes. Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, a Sarkozy-era minister, lost in the Paris right-wing stronghold previously held by François Fillon. She says she's now looking for a job.

So is Jean-Christophe Cambadélis, who has decided to resign from his position as national secretary of the Socialist Party, following what right-wing Le Figaro is happy to call "an unprecedented defeat" for the moderate left. Of nearly 300 deputies in the outgoing parliament, only 29 Socialist candidates were elected yesterday.

One dead following incident outside London mosque

Otherwise, this morning's front pages are dominated by the latest London incident, a possible attack on Muslims near the Finsbury Park mosque. Anti-terrorist police have begun an enquiry into an event which saw at least one person killed and several injured after a vehicle struck those emerging from the mosque after the sunset prayers marking the end of ramadan fasting for the day.

The driver of the vehicle has been arrested and is currently in hospital.