A first-round parliamentary election result promising President Emmanuel Macron a crushing majority in parliament has lifted investor sentiment. But, as Silvia Antonioli reports, the lowest voter turnout in modern history clouded celebration.
He is the youngest French leader since Napolean and although the former investment banker might not boast the emperor's charisma, he does now have a chance to make his mark. Investors cheered a landslide of votes in favour of President Emmanuel Macron's party in a first round parliamentary election His Republic on the Move party is now set to gain a crushing majority in the second round. That would give him a powerful mandate to implement his pledged pro-business reforms. SOUNDBITE (English) NAB, GLOB AL Head FX STRATEGY, NICK PARSONS, SAYING: "In a sense in France the battle is not between the politicians. But it's more likely after the summer to be between the politicians and the unions. And that I think is going to be the new battleground." Macron's party is projected to win up to three quarters of seats in the National Assembly. But even his supporters are still worried. ( SOUNDBITE) (French) PASSER-BY, FREDERIC MAYNIER, SAYING: "There is a legitimacy issue when there is more that 50 percent of voters that did not go to vote, let alone those who cast a blank ballot or voted null." And that could mean discontent being expressed in a more direct way. SOUNDBITE (English) NAB, GLOBAL Head FX STRATEGY, NICK PARSONS, SAYING "France has traditionally played out its protests on the streets. And I think it's going to be very much the spotlight shining on the unions to see what their response is going to be. We've seen battles with previous administrations which arguably were even closer to the union's position than will be the new administration ." Yet, when comparing his post-election situation with that of Theresa May on the other side of the English Channel, the French President can doubt take a sigh of relief... for now.