France’s official socialist party looks set to be wiped out after a dismal showing in the country’s parliamentary elections.
The Parti Socialiste racked up just over 7% of the popular vote in preliminary voting on Sunday – a calamitous fall after five years of being France’s foremost political force.
The socialists were in government until just a few months ago under President François Hollande, who by the end had approval ratings as low as 4%.
But the party was routed by the upstart political movement led by Emmanuel Macron, who won France’s presidency with his centrist movement, En Marche!, last month.
In France, elections for the 577-seat parliament are held in the weeks after a new president takes office.
Voting takes place in two rounds – the first was on Sunday, the second is this weekend.
According to the Reuters news agency, the old-school socialists took the heaviest beating this election, with just 7.45% of the vote.
At a similar point in 2012, they were on almost 30%, which proved enough to ultimately win 280 seats. They are now predicted to lose around 80% of them.
Meanwhile, Macron’s En Marche! and allied groups yesterday took 31.9% of the vote.
In the second round of voting, En Marche! could win more than 400 seats.
The centre-right Républicains party also lost votes, but still managed around 20%, making socialists the real losers of the contest.
Their reputation was shot to pieces after a bad five years for France, which saw its economy stagnate, frequent riots in Paris and the nation battered by a string of terror attacks.
Hollande was eligible to run for re-election, but was so unpopular he decided not to. His successor as candidate, Benoit Hamon, came fifth with 6.3% of the vote.