Exit Polls: French Socialists Lead in Parliamentary Election

Posted June 10th, 2012 at 5:15 pm (UTC-5)
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Exit polls from France's first round of parliamentary elections show President Francois Hollande's Socialist party and its allies winning the largest bloc of seats in the lower house.

Early poll results show the left wing parties winning more than 40 percent of seats in the 577-seat National Assembly.

Former president Nicolas Sarkozy's conservative UMP party won around 35 percent of the vote, while the far right National Front received just over 13 percent.

Analysts say that will allow Mr. Hollande to enact measures he hopes will help curb unemployment and kick-start the Eurozone's second largest economy.

Voter turnout in Sunday's poll was reported at 48 percent, slightly lower than the 49 percent in the 2007 parliamentary vote.

A second and final round of voting is scheduled for June 17.

The Socialists and their allies already control the French Senate, the upper house of parliament.

Sunday's winners include National Front leader Marie Le Pen, who will move on to next week's runoff for a seat from the northern town of Henin-Beaumont. Le Pen finished third in last month's presidential election. She boasted Sunday that the right-wing National Front is now France's third post powerful political party.

President Hollande beat Mr. Sarkozy in a May 6 presidential runoff. He needs lawmakers' support to persuade European Union leaders, especially German Chancellor Angela Merkel, to focus on spurring economic growth rather than enforcing austerity in struggling European economies.