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World

June 20, 2017

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France elects record number of women to parliament

France elects record number of women to parliament

PARIS: The French parliament has been transformed by the overwhelming victory of President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist party in elections.

The new parliament will be far more centrist, younger and ethnically diverse and will contain dozens more women than the outgoing assembly.

There will be a record 224 women in the new intake of lawmakers, smashing the former high mark of 155 elected in 2012.

Thanks to Macron’s policy of equal gender selection, nearly half the lawmakers of his Republic on the Move (REM) party are women (47 percent). The hard-left France Unbowed is second with 41 percent.

REM’s Laetitia Avia, 31, who rose from humble beginnings in a family of Togolese immigrants to found her own legal practice, became one of the few French women of African origin to have ever won a parliamentary seat.

The increase in women lawmakers will help France rise from its lowly 64th place in the global Inter-Parliamentary Union rankings. Germany, by comparison, is 22nd.

The 39-year-old Macron’s fledgling REM won 308 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly just 14 months after it was formed.

With the 42 seats of its allies MoDem, REM has a total of 350, giving it a powerful platform to launch Macron’s slate of pre-business reforms. That success came at a heavy cost for the traditional parties of left and right.

The Socialists of former president Francois Hollande in particular were hammered by voters and ended with a post-war low of 30 seats -- a humiliating total compared to the 284 they had in the outgoing parliament.

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