Sarkozy Confers With Allies After French Left Takes Majority in Senate

Posted September 26th, 2011 at 3:56 pm (UTC-5)
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French President Nicolas Sarkozy has met with his top political allies after the opposition Socialist Party and its left-leaning allies won a majority in the Senate for the first time in modern history.

The results of Sunday's parliamentary elections give the Socialists 177 Senate seats — two more than they needed for an absolute majority.

Their win over Mr. Sarkozy's conservatives comes just seven months ahead of presidential elections and leaves him without a majority in the upper house. The conservatives hold a majority in the lower house, the National Assembly.

Sunday's election results are a sign of broad voter discontent with Mr. Sarkozy and his UMP party. Mr. Sarkozy likely will face Socialist Francois Hollande in the 2012 presidential election.

Mr. Sarkozy is struggling with some of the lowest ratings of any recent French president. In addition to criticism for his government's handling of the economy and unemployment, he is embroiled in a corruption probe linked to arms sales.

Sunday's election was an indirect electoral process in which about 72,000 elected officials, including mayors and regional council members, cast votes. April's presidential poll is a general election.