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3Novices:French voters stay away in parliament vote

Paris // French president Emmanuel Macron's centrist party was headed for a massive majority in parliamentary elections on Sunday dominating the country's traditional forces in a dramatic redrawing of the political map.

Mr Macron's year-old Republic on the Move (REM) and its allies were set to win between 355 and 425 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly, according to partial results from the second round of an election in which many high-profile figures were thrown out.

The result, if confirmed, would give Mr Macron, 39, one of France's biggest post-war majorities, strengthening his hand in implementing his business-friendly, pro-EU programme.

His party dominated France's traditional parties, the right-wing Republicans and Socialists, but also the far-right Front National (FN) of defeated presidential candidate Marine Le Pen which fell far short of its target.

The Socialists lost around 200 seats after five years in power under former president Francois Hollande, leaving them with only around 27 to 49 seats.

The Republicans hung on to between 97 and 130 seats, down from more than 200 in the last parliament, and remain the main opposition party.

Ms Le Pen's FN were only expected to win four to eight seats but she was elected an MP.

Victory for the REM is set to transform the assembly with a new generation of legislators - younger, more ethnically diverse and with far more women than the outgoing parliament.

The scale of the change is forecast to be so large that some observers have compared the overhaul to 1958, the start of the present presidential system, or even the post-war rebirth of French democracy in 1945.

* Agence France-Presse
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