Marine Le Pen, Manuel Valls re-elected to French parliament


(JTA) — France’s far-right leader Marine Le Pen and former Prime Minister Manuel Valls both secured a seat in a parliamentary election that was dominated by the party of President Emmanuel Macron.

The centrist party, La Republique En Marche, which was created last year, clinched 361 seats out of 577 in the National Assembly, giving it an absolute majority following the final round of the parliamentary elections in France.

This provides Macron and his party, whose name means “Republic onwards,” a majority in parliament to pass economic reforms that he said during his presidential campaign were necessary to end the country’s financial stagnation.

National Front, Le Pen’s anti-Muslim and Euroskeptic party, garnered eight seats in the election — two fewer than polls predicted for the party.

Macron won the final round of the presidential vote on May 7 with 66 percent of the vote. Le Pen received 34 percent, the best result ever by her party.

Valls, a centrist member of the Socialist Party, narrowly defeated the far-left politician Jean-Luc Melenchon, who has been accused of espousing anti-Semitic rhetoric in speeches, in the Essone region in northern France. Valls won 50.3 percent of the vote there, according to FranceInter.

In a speech last year, Valls called anti-Zionism a form of anti-Semitism. In 2009, he said he has an “eternal bond” with the Jewish people because of his marriage to a Jewish woman.

Meyer Habib, a lawmaker for the UDI centrist party and a former leader of the CRIF umbrella of French Jewish communities, was re-elected to parliament as the representative of the 8th District.

Israel is home to more than 70,000 French citizens eligible to vote out of 111,736 throughout the district. During his campaign, Meyer was endorsed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is a longtime personal friend.

For the first time in history, turnout in a legislative election slumped to below 50 percent in both rounds. On Sunday, 43 percent of voters cast ballots.

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