Voting is underway in France in a general election that could prove crucial to how the country tackles its economic problems.
The left is tipped to gain control of the lower house of parliament in this ballot, with undecided seats going to a run-off in a week’s time. The upper house, or Senate is already under left-wing control.
Gaining a firm majority in both is key if Socialist President François Hollande, elected just last month, is to push through his reform programme. But the Right has been campaigning hard against handing over too much power to one side of the political spectrum.
However, defeated president, Nicolas Sarkozy’s UMP party is mired in a leadership battle that has left many French unsure of what direction the party is heading in.
There is also a great deal of speculation as to whether the far right National Front will finally win a seat in parliament – something it has never yet managed. In the presidential contest it picked up almost one vote in five.