French govt: Senate elections were a 'failure' for Macron

French government spokesman Christophe Castaner says Senate elections have been a "failure" for President Emmanuel Macron's centrist party.

The conservative Republicans were the clear winners in Sunday's vote for about half the chamber's 348 seats.

Macron's 17-month-old Republic on the Move! party has just 28 seats in the Senate according to results published Monday. The Republicans have 171 seats.

Senators aren't chosen by the public but by some 75,000 elected officials, mostly from local councils across the country.

Castaner said Monday on BFM TV he expected such a defeat because "those who voted are those who have been elected in 2014 and 2015 when Republic on the Move! didn't exist."

Macron will still be able to pass his reforms because France's lower house of parliament has the final say in legislation.