Le Pen, Valls reelected to French Parliament
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Le Pen, Valls reelected to French Parliament

Meyer Habib, close friend of Netanyahu, again wins electoral 8th District, which includes Israel

France's far-right National Front (FN) leader and parliamentary candidate Marine Le Pen gives a speech after polls closed for the first round of the French legislative elections in Henin-Beaumont, June 11, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / François LO PRESTI)
France's far-right National Front (FN) leader and parliamentary candidate Marine Le Pen gives a speech after polls closed for the first round of the French legislative elections in Henin-Beaumont, June 11, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / François LO PRESTI)

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 seats less than result predicted for the party in polls.

An image grab from an AFP video taken on June 18, 2017 at Evry townhall shows former French Socialist Prime Minister and candidate in the 11th circumscription in the Essonne department Manuel Valls (C) speaking following the announcement of the results of the second round of the French parliamentary elections. (AFP PHOTO / Guillaume BONNET)
An image grab from an AFP video taken on June 18, 2017 at Evry townhall shows former French Socialist Prime Minister and candidate in the 11th circumscription in the Essonne department Manuel Valls (C) speaking following the announcement of the results of the second round of the French parliamentary elections. (AFP PHOTO / Guillaume BONNET)

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

Valls, a centrist member of the Socialist Party who last year in a speech called anti-Zionism a form of anti-Semitism and who in 2009 said he has an “eternal bond” with the Jewish people because of his marriage to a Jewish woman, narrowly beat 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% of the vote there, according to FranceInter.

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 electoral 8th District, which comprises Turkey, Israel, Italy, Greece, the Vatican, San Marino and Malta.

French-Jewish lawmaker Meyer Habib with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem in May 2017. (Screenshot)
French-Jewish lawmaker Meyer Habib with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem in May 2017. (Screenshot)

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

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

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