PARIS (Reuters) - Emmanuel Macron’s start-up political party was to announce on Thursday the names of several hundred candidates to do battle in a French parliamentary election that will decide how much power the centrist president-elect will enjoy once in office.
The man compiling the candidate list of the Republic on the Move party told Reuters the announcement would probably fall a hundred or so short of the 577 names needed to fight every seat in France’s National Assembly.
Jean-Paul Delevoye said this was partly due to a flood of offers to stand for a party that was created only a year ago and goes into battle for a first time in the June elections alongside long-established parties of all political stripes.
“We did not want to rush things in a few dozen constituencies that are particularly sensitive, around one hundred,” Delevoye told Reuters. He added that the remainder of places on the Republic on the Move’s list would be filled in the days ahead.
Some 16,000 people had applied to become candidates, he said - 1,600 of them in the few days since the 39-year-old ex-banker beat National Front leader Marine Le Pen in the presidential runoff on May 7.
Macron’s victory was seen across the world as a victory for supporters of European Union integration over Le Pen’s anti-EU proposals including ditching the euro currency.
But he now needs to consolidate a win where a chunk of those who backed him in the playoff against Le Pen came from political parties that voted to stop her rather than to put him in the driving seat for the next five years.
Among those forces are hard-left groups and the two groups which have dominated French politics for decades, the Socialist Party and The Republicans.
The right-wing Republicans party is seeking to win enough seats in parliament to force Macron into a power-sharing deal.
The Socialist Party, whose candidate made a miserable showing in the election, is splintering as moderates and radicals squabble over the breakthrough by Macron, who worked for two years as economy minister in a Socialist government.
Outgoing Socialist President Francois Hollande is due to formally hand over power to Macron on Sunday. After that, Macron will name an interim team to run day-to-day affairs pending the outcome of the legislative elections which take place in two rounds on June 11 and 18.
Writing By Brian Love; Editing by Richard Balmforth