Macron unveils new faces for parliamen
French President-elect Emmanuel Macron’s party on May 11 unveiled more than 400 candidates who will stand in parliamentary elections in June, with half of them newcomers to politics and half of them women. Pro-Europe Macron, 39, was elected on May 7 after promising a “revolution” that would bring fresh faces into France’s stale political landscape and end the pattern of power alternating between traditional parties. His newly renamed grassroots movement, La Republique en Marche (Republic on the Move), founded only 13 months ago, revealed 428 out of 577 candidates for the parliamentary polls. “We aim to build a majority for change and to win an absolute majority in parliament,” party secretary general Richard Ferrand told a news conference. Macron had promised that half would be newcomers, meaning a diverse range of figures from business, public service, activist groups and academia will get a chance to seek elected office. “The promise of renewal is fulfilled,” Ferrand said, adding that the average age of the candidates was 46 -- compared with 60 in the current national assembly. On the tricky position of whether to accept former Socialist prime minister Manuel Valls, Ferrand said the party had not selected him, but would not field a rival against him in his south of Paris seat. Valls, a friend-turned-foe of Macron’s from their time in government from 2014-2016, had asked to be selected on May 9, but said he welcomed news that Macron’s movement would not oppose him. “So it will be as a free man, yet with a strong political identity ... republican, progressive, of the left, that I act,” said the former premier, urging people “who want the new president of the republic to succeed” to vote for him. Other successful bids came from a woman fighter pilot who will run in eastern France and a man born in Rwanda who was adopted in France at the age of four and will contest a seat in Brittany.