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French left launches damage limitation drive

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French left launches damage limitation drive


It appears French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s UMP party is heading for a landside victory of unprecedented scale after the first round of parliamentary elections this weekend.

To avoid being submerged in a tidal wave Socialist leader Segolene Royale is appealing to the 40 percent of the election-weary French who did not vote to turn out next Sunday, and calling on centrist supporters to vote tactically in favour of better-placed Socialist challengers;

“We can pull votes together in the second round, and I think we have to open up to progressive democrats as well as supporters of the left and, yes, I have left Mr. Bayrou a message”.

Francois Bayrou’s new centrist party, the MoDem or Democratic Movement, did poorly, and may not be able to win any parliamentary seats at all without making deals with the left. But it is unclear if Bayrou will be able to swallow this, and a party leader has already ruled it out.

However the figures indicate it may be the only recipe for Bayrou to snatch limited success, and the UMP’s near 40 percent score means a record number of parliamentarians have been elected straight off, with no need for a second round, 110 in all, of which the Socialists have only won one.

467 seats remain up for grabs, with the UMP favourably placed in most, and the French press is all but unanimous in predicting a massive defeat for the French left in six day’s time.

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