Low turnout so far in French parliamentary vote

French President Emmanuel Macron left welcomes Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte upon his arrival at the Elyse Palace in Paris France Friday

Those two parties dominated French politics for decades but Macron pushed them further to the margins during his first month in office, cementing his popularity with his positions on climate change and economic reform, and poaching some of their leading members for Cabinet positions.

Macron left a position in the Socialist government to run an independent presidential campaign. His fresh out-of-the-box party, La Republique en Marche, is forecast to win a thumping majority, but the party is so new there have been reports some rural polling stations were unable to open, or opened late because of a lack of election officials and monitors.

Macron's party, which didn't exist 14 months ago and offered novice candidates from civilian life for many seats, drew from both the left and right to fill its ranks, effectively blurring the country's traditional political divide. He said lawmakers in his conservative party are going to have a strong enough bloc in the lower house of parliament to be able to voice their views.

Socialist party leader Jean-Christophe Cambadelis says that President "Emmanuel Macron's triumph is uncontestable, the defeat of the left is unavoidable, and the defeat of the Socialist party is irrevocable". She said her National Front party had won at least six seats - with not all votes counted - an increase from the two seats it held in the outgoing legislature.

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

France's new president Emmanuel Macon voted bright and early in the second round of parliamentary elections, setting a good example on a day some fear turnout could hit an historic low.

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The Republicans are set to form the biggest opposition group, with about 130 seats, while the Socialists could be reduced to fewer than 40 deputies, pollsters said.

Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel also welcomed the vote's outcome, tweeting that it paved "the way for reforms in France+Europe". At 5 p.m. local time, it was 35.33 percent compared with 46.42 percent in 2012 and 49.58 percent in 2007, according to the Interior Ministry in a post on Twitter.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, a center-right politician who joined Macron's movement, cast his ballot in the port of Le Havre. Experts partly blamed voter fatigue following the May election of Mr Macron, plus voter disappointment with politics.

That would allow Macron to move fast with promised legislation, notably on changing labor laws to make hiring and firing easier.

The polls, by Kantar-Sofres and Ipsos/Sopra Steria, projected the main opposition force would be conservative party The Republicans and its allies with between 125 and 133 seats.

Less than half of the 47.5 million-strong electorate turned out last Sunday, a record low that especially punished Marine Le Pen's far-right National Front party.

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