By Sudip Kar-Gupta
PARIS (Reuters – French President Emmanuel Macron’s party is expected to win the most votes in June’s parliamentary election, polls showed on Monday, with Macron also scoring well in terms of general popularity.
The Odoxa poll for France Inter radio and L’Express magazine said Macron’s start-up Republic on the Move (LREM) party would come top with 29 percent of votes in the June legislative election, which takes place in two rounds on June 11 and June 18.
The far-right National Front (FN) was seen in second place with 17 percent of votes, with the conservative Republicans party in third on 15 percent. Far-left politician Jean-Luc Melenchon’s party was in fourth place with 14 percent.
A second poll also confirmed that pattern, with Harris Interactive/LCP forecasting that Macron’s party would get 31 percent of votes in the first round of the June vote, with the FN second on 19 percent and the Republicans on 18 percent.
It was unclear how these figures would translate into seats and whether this would mean Macron would get the majority he is seeking.
The 39-year-old centrist, elected president on May 7, is hoping to secure a majority in France’s 577-seat National Assembly to enable him to push through a reform agenda aimed at reviving an economy afflicted by slow growth, high unemployment and a lack of competitiveness.
Other polls this month have pointed to a likely majority for LREM. However, given that many of their candidates are unknown to voters and inexperienced, and that no parliamentary election has been held before with LREM in the mix, the outcome is uncertain.
Macron has sought to broaden his appeal by forming a government which poached representatives from the traditional parties – the Republicans on the right, and the Socialists on the left.
Other recent polls have also suggested Macron’s party would displace the left-wing Socialists as the largest party in the lower house of parliament.
The Odoxa poll also said 58 percent of French citizens thought Macron would be a good president, while 47 percent thought he would do better than his Socialist predecessor Francois Hollande.
Macron plans to pass a reform of labor regulations by the end of September before kicking off overhauls of the unemployment insurance system and professional training later in the year, and tackling pension schemes in 2018.
(Reporting and writing by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Richard Balmforth)