The announcement will set a tone for his political movement that is still forming its identity. Macron hopes to gain a majority of National Assembly seats, as a fractured legislature could lead to political roadblocks.
The dust had barely settled in the aftermath of a heated presidential election that saw political upstart Emmanuel Macron secure France's presidential office last Sunday before speculation turned to the candidates his party would name for the upcoming parliamentary elections.
Macron's political movement revealed it would send out 428 candidates; half of the candidates that will run for the seats in the National Assembly on June 11 and 18 notably were female.
Founded in April 2016 as the En Marche! (On the Move) movement, it was renamed La Republique en Marche (The Republic on the Move) to reflect his presidential win.
The party's nomination chief, Jean-Paul Delevoye, said the announcement would fall short of naming candidates to fill all of the legislature's 577 seats due to tough decisions about who should represent the young party, as well as a deluge of applications for the candidate positions.
"We did not want to rush things in a few dozen constituencies, around 100, that are particularly sensitive," Delevoye told Reuters, adding that the remaining positions would be filled in the following day. The movement already announced 14 candidates.
New faces among the candidates
Some 19,000 individuals had reportedly submitted themselves as potential candidates through an online portal requiring CVs and explanatory letters before the lucky ones moved forward to follow-up interviews, local media reported.
Though the candidates include some established political names from the entire "Republican spectrum," Macron promised that half the field of candidates would be made up of political newcomers. Richard Ferrand, secretary-general of En Marche!, confirmed this later, saying that 52 percent of the selected candidates came from "civil society." As for those with a political background, he only specified that 24 of the candidates come from the center-left Socialist Party while none belong to the center-right Republicans (LR).
He also added that the youngest candidate on the list is 24.
"The second act in the redrawing of our political life will be the building of a parliamentary majority in the elections in June," Ferrand said on Thursday.
A majority needed
The young movement, founded by Macron in April 2016 prior to announcing his presidential bid, positions itself as a progressive, grassroots movement that lies beyond the right-left categories of France's established political parties. The announcement of the candidates will indicate the future political leanings of the party, something which could prove crucial for the party's ability to attract broad support.
Because many French voters only reluctantly threw their weight behind Macron in the presidential election, often as a last resort to prevent the far right-wing Marine Le Pen from entering office, the party's choice of candidates could alienate either voters who find the options too centrist or those who find them too left-leaning.
Macron will be sworn in as president this coming Sunday in a ceremony at the Elysee Palace. Should he fail to obtain an outright - or even a comfortable majority - Macron could find it very hard to govern the country.
The conservative Republican party hopes to secure enough seats to force Macron into a power sharing deal.
cmb/kms (AFP, Reuters)