Hollande to cement his power in polls

Hollande to cement his power in polls

PARIS - Agence France-Presse
France voted yesterday in an election run-off expected to cement the country’s swing to the left by handing Socialist President François Hollande a solid parliamentary majority to push his agenda.

The polls showed France’s Socialists winning between 287 and 330 seats in the run-off vote, almost certainly enough to secure a majority in the 577-seat Assembly. With the Greens, who are close allies of the Socialists and already in government, expected to win up to 20 seats, Hollande is all but guaranteed to get the parliamentary backing he needs.

Victory to give free hand to Hollande

Hollande leaves today for G20 talks in Mexico, the first of a series of summits with world and European leaders where he will seek to shift the focus of eurozone economic policy from austerity to growth.

Already in control of the Senate and nearly all regional governments, a parliamentary majority would give the Socialists a free hand to implement reforms, and the right has urged voters to check the left’s power in the vote.

The Socialists and other left-wing parties came out on top in the first round, winning 46 percent to 34 percent for Sarkozy’s UMP party and its allies.

The election will also be a key test for Marine Le Pen’s anti-immigrant and anti-EU National Front (FN), which took 13.6 percent in the first round, far above the four percent it won in the last parliamentary election in 2007.