France's new lawmakers open first parliament session
PARIS (AP) -- France's newly elected lawmakers, most of them from President Emmanuel Macron's centrist party, are gathering their first parliament session.
Macron's 14-month-old party, Republic on the Move!, won 308 of the 577 seats at France's lower house of parliament in legislative elections earlier this month. His allies in Modem took 42 seats, giving the government a wide majority.
During the opening session Tuesday afternoon, lawmakers are choosing the president of the National assembly, a key player in organizing legislative business and debates.
Experienced lawmaker Francois de Rugy, a former Green who joined Macron earlier this year, is the favorite to win the vote.
After Macron vigorously campaigned on a promise to renew France's political landscape, other parties also made efforts to promote new faces.
Three-quarters of the lawmakers are starting their first term at the National Assembly and 38 percent are women -the highest proportion in France's modern history.
Some previously had local political experience, but many are newcomers to politics.
The lawmakers' average age is down from 55 in the previous term to 49 now. The youngest is 23, the oldest 79.
They expect to get to work quickly tackling the government's proposed law on expanding police powers and a labor reform making it easier to hire and fire.
The conservative Republicans and their center-right allies are deeply divided over their political strategy: 94 lawmakers claim they are the main opposition to Macron's majority, while about 40 others describing themselves as "constructive" say they are ready to vote for government laws legislation which they consider going in the right direction.
The Socialist Party, which dominated the outgoing Assembly, won only 30 seats.
Far-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon's party took 17 seats.
Far-right figure Marine Le Pen is going to enter the National Assembly for the first time as a lawmaker. Her National Front party won eight seats, including hers, up from two in the outgoing Assembly.