Voting Under Way in French Parliamentary Election

Posted June 17th, 2012 at 10:35 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Voting is under way in France, in a second round of parliamentary elections in which President Francois Hollande's Socialists are expected to win a solid majority in the 577-member National Assembly.

Opinion polls and seat projections from last Sunday's first-round vote suggest the Socialist block could achieve at least 287 seats in the lower house of parliament. France's Senate, the upper house of parliament, is already under left-wing control.

Voter participation was reported at 21.4 percent by midday Sunday, in the election which was France's fourth in eight weeks.

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

The election will also be a test for the anti-immigration National Front party of Marine Le Pen which placed third in the first round of voting.

Initial result are expected shortly after polls close at 1800 UTC.

Mr. Hollande unseated conservative Nicolas Sarkozy in a May 6 runoff presidential election. The new president needs lawmakers' support for him to try to persuade European Union leaders, especially German Chancellor Angela Merkel, to focus on spurring economic growth rather than enforcing further austerity in struggling European economies.