Five years after it was created by Jacques Chirac, the party led by Nicolas Sarkozy until he became President appears to have cemented its dominant position in French politics.
Final results show the UMP has won 39.5 per cent of the vote after the first round of the parliamentary elections. A second ballot is due next weekend. The socialists trailed far behind in second place with 24.7 per cent. The Democratic Movement of centrist Francois Bayrou – polled 7.5 per cent while the far-right Front National came in fourth, neck and neck with the Communist party on 4.2 percent.