France elections: Socialists secure big victory



France elections: Socialists secure big victory Zeenews Bureau

Paris: As per exit poll agencies French President Francois Hollande's Socialist Party is all set to win a big majority in the Lower House of Parliament.

The Socialists' bloc is set to obtain between 312 and 326 seats -an absolute majority in the 577-seat National Assembly and in that case there will be no need to rely on the Greens or the far left, polling institutes Sofres and CSA said.

Hollande, who defeated right-winger Nicolas Sarkozy in a May presidential election, had urged voters to give him the MPs he needs to steer France through the eurozone crisis, rising unemployment and a faltering economy.

Sarkozy's UMP was slated to win between 212 and 234 seats, the Greens between 18 and 24 seats and the far-left Left Front between nine and 11, the polling institutes said.

The results of last Sunday's first-round voting revealed that President Francois Hollande's left-leaning Socialist Party (PS) obtained 46 percent of the vote, much higher than the 34 percent secured by former president Nicolas Sarkozy's centre-right Union for a Popular Movement (UMP).

The win will likely help Hollande pass tax hikes and spending increases, and bolster him as he pushes other European leaders to invest in stimulus programs to pull the region out of economic crisis.

The TNS-Sofres, Ipsos and CSA agencies estimate that the Socialists will have at least 307 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly after Sunday's second-round Parliamentary Elections. That's well over the 289 they needed for a majority, and means they don't have to rely on far leftists to pass legislation.

The anti-immigrant National Front party is projected to win one to four seats, its first presence in Parliament since the 1990s.

The outcome bolstered Hollande's chances of implementing wide-ranging reforms, including imposing higher taxes on the rich, to put France's fiscal house into order and stimulate long-term economic growth.

For the second round, opinion polls published on the last day of campaigning indicated that the Socialist bloc is set to win between 287 and 330 seats in the 577-member Lower House, where the minimal number needed for taking an absolute majority is 289.

The Greens, which has made a voting pact with the PS, is expected to collect between 14 to 20 seats, and the hardline Left Front will be represented by 8 to 12 seats.

For the right-wing part, the conservative UMP is projected to take between 210 and 263 seats, while the far-right National Front (FN) might for the first time win up to three seats for a real presence in Parliament since 1986.

Given the first-round results and recent polls, the Left is in a position to bag the premiership in addition to the presidency.

Already taking control of the Upper House of Parliament last year and running 21 out of 22 regional and local governments, the Left is thus very likely to take full control of the state's political power.

With agency inputs