Macron's New Centrist Party Stretches Lead, Survey Shows

   •    18 Mei 2017 22:28 WIB
Macron's New Centrist Party Stretches Lead, Survey Shows
Emmanuel Macron (Photo:AFP/Stephane de Sakutin), Paris: French President Emmanuel Macron's new centrist party has stretched its lead in the polls ahead of parliamentary elections next month, new survey data showed Thursday, adding to the positive momentum for the 39-year-old leader.

A survey from the Harris Interactive group showed that 32 percent of people planned to vote for Macron's Republique en Marche (REM) in the first round of parliamentary elections on June 11.

The figure showed a three-point gain from the week before, with the rightwing Republicans and far-right National Front losing one point each to stand at 19 percent.

Another survey published Thursday by the Elabe polling group showed that 61 percent of French people approved of the new government unveiled Wednesday, which mixed Socialists, centrists, rightwingers and newcomers to politics.

Rightwing Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said Thursday that the government had been chosen to last and was "in line with the political renewal that we are in the process of putting in place."

Macron, who defeated far-right leader Marine Le Pen on May 7 to become the country's youngest president ever, is hoping to sink France's traditional parties as he seeks to redraw the political map.

His aim is to win a parliamentary majority with REM and its centrist allies which would enable him to push through his ambitious plans to overhaul labour regulations, social security, schools and pensions.

The polling data does not forecast the number of seats REM and its allies would win in the 577-seat National Assembly, which is difficult to predict because of France's two-round voting system.

Unless there is an outright winner in the first round, any candidate with backing from more than 12.5 percent of registered voters goes through to a runoff on June 18. These are usually two-way contests but can be three- or four-way.

Many analysts remain sceptical about Macron's ability to win a majority with REM but Macron has always claimed that voters are "coherent".

Having elected him president, they would then give him a parliamentary majority to govern, he said repeatedly on the campaign trail. (AFP)