French Socialists Lead in Parliamentary Election

Posted June 11th, 2012 at 9:05 am (UTC-5)
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French President Francois Hollande's Socialist party and its allies are on track to win a solid majority in parliament after winning the largest bloc of seats in the first round of voting for the country's lower house of parliament.

Official results for Sunday's vote show the left wing parties with about 46 percent of the vote in the 577-seat National Assembly.

Former president Nicolas Sarkozy's conservative UMP party won around 34 percent of the vote, while the far right National Front received more than 13 percent.

The final makeup of the National Assembly will be determined after a second round of voting Sunday .

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

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

First round winners include National Front leader Marine 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 most 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.