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article imageWinners and losers in French parliamentary vote

By Clare BYRNE (AFP)     Jun 18, 2017 in Politics

France's parliament underwent a major transformation on Sunday, with President Emmanuel Macron's winning centrist army, half of whom have never held office, wresting between 355 and 403 seats for the Republic on the Move party (REM) from the left and right.

These are some of the new -- and not-so-new -- faces in the 577-member National Assembly:

- Maths ace -

Cedric Villani, a 43-year-old star mathematician recognisable by his long hair and colourful floppy bow ties is one of scores of political newcomers who swept to power on Macron's coattails. Winner of the 2010 Fields medal, the equivalent of the Nobel Prize in mathematics, he was elected in the southern Paris suburb of Essonne.

- Start-up star -

Mounir Mahjoubi  beat off Socialist Party leader Jean-Christophe Cambadelis and a hard-left candidat...
Mounir Mahjoubi, beat off Socialist Party leader Jean-Christophe Cambadelis and a hard-left candidate for a seat in the multi-ethnic 19th district of Paris
Benjamin CREMEL, AFP

The youngest member of Macron's government, 33-year-old Mounir Mahjoubi, beat off Socialist Party leader Jean-Christophe Cambadelis and a hard-left candidate for a seat in the multi-ethnic 19th district of Paris. Born in France to Moroccan parents, he was made junior minister in charge of the digital economy after leading Macron's online campaign during the presidential race.

- Marine Le Pen -

France's far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen won a parliament seat representing the n...
France's far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen won a parliament seat representing the northern region of Pas-de-Calais
Denis Charlet, AFP

As a consolation prize for her defeat in the presidential election, the 48-year-old leader of the far-right National Front (FN) won a seat representing the northern region of Pas-de-Calais, an FN stronghold. A member of the European Parliament since 2004 this is the first time she will sit in the National Assembly, where she will be joined by at least five other FN members -- up from a current total tally of two.

- Leftist firebrand -

Jean-Luc Melenchon, the fiery 65-year-old leader of the radical left France Unbowed will also join the opposition benches. Melenchon, an MEP and former senator who finished fourth in the presidential election, was elected in the Mediterranean port of Marseille. He has vowed a "merciless" battle against the government on workers' rights.

- Socialist survivor -

Former prime minister Manuel Valls -- reviled by left-wingers for having tacked to the right while in office -- survived the purge of senior Socialists by the skin of his teeth, winning election in his suburban Paris fiefdom by a mere 139 votes. Valls had sought to run on Macron's ticket. The 54-year-old was rebuffed but REM did not run a candidate against him, facilitating his win.

Meanwhile, some well-known faces were rejected by voters:

- Brains behind Le Pen

FN vice-president Florian Philippot was beaten by one of President Macron's candidates in easte...
FN vice-president Florian Philippot was beaten by one of President Macron's candidates in eastern France
JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN, AFP

FN vice-president Florian Philippot -- the architect of her pledge to take France out of the euro -- was beaten by one of Macron's candidates in eastern France. The 35-year-old is a controversial figure within the FN, blamed by some for pushing a virulently anti-EU line that scared off voters in the presidential election.

- Hollande loyalist -

A former rising star of the Socialist Party, ex-education minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, 39, was beaten by a Macron-backed entrepreneur in the southeastern city of Lyon.

- Former Sarkozy spokeswoman -

A former environment minister from the moderate faction of the right-wing Republicans, 44-year-old Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet was beaten by a Macron-backed business consultant on the Left Bank of Paris -- a conservative bastion.

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