FRANCE – Macron names diverse list of candidates

The party of French President-elect Emmanuel Macron has selected a diverse list of 428 candidates for parliamentary elections next month.

Only 24 of those chosen are outgoing MPs from the current parliament.

Some 52 per cent come from civil society and exactly half are women, the secretary-general of La République En Marche (Republic on the Move) said.

Richard Ferrand said the choices marked “the definitive return of citizens to the heart of our political life”.

Macron still needs to select more than 100 candidates for the 577-seat parliament and the party says its door is open to politicians from other parties to join.

French president Emmanuel Macron

The movement received more than 19,000 applications, Mr Ferrand said at a news conference, with 1,700 telephone interviews conducted with candidates.

The average age of the list is 46 “compared to 60 years for the average of outgoing MPs”, he said.

The youngest candidate is 24 years old, while the oldest is 72. Around ten candidates are unemployed, double that are retired and a handful are students.

All of the outgoing MPs chosen to run come from the Socialist Party of departing President François Hollande.

Ferrand confirmed that Macron’s ex-cabinet colleague Manuel Valls – the former prime minister who has now burned his boats with his Socialists – had not been selected.

He said that he did “not meet the criteria” because he had already served three parliamentary terms.

But the party will not be running a candidate against him in his constituency in Essonne, south of Paris.

France had been waiting to see if the party list would live up to Macron’s pledge to clean up France’s public life.

Many of the candidates are unknown to the public and there are few well-known personalities on the list.

Among the diverse candidates is Cédric Villani, a famous mathematician with a penchant for flamboyant bow-ties and spider brooches. He won the Fields Medal – seen as one of the highest honours in mathematics – in 2010.

François Hollande’s communications advisor Gaspard Gantzer, former judge Éric Halphen and former bullfighter Marie Sara are also on the list.

Although no MPs of the Republican party are candidates, at least two former allies of Alain Juppé – who lost the centre-right party’s presidential primary – have been selected.

French media are already reporting errors on the list – including one candidate with a criminal record (the party said no-one with a criminal record would be eligible). Several people on the list have also denied they are candidates.

Macron was only elected on Sunday and the two-round parliamentary vote takes place on 11 and 18 June. But with only one month to go, every political party is now focusing on the race for the National Assembly.

His recently rebranded party is only 13 months old and Macron needs to show he will have not just a mandate but the power in parliament to push through his programme.

Source: (BBC)

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