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France legislative election: Can Socialists win outright majority?

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France legislative election: Can Socialists win outright majority?


France’s new president Francois Hollande has moved closer to honouring his controversial tax and spend election manifesto after his Socialist party took the lead in Sunday’s first round elections for the national assembly.

Together with other left-wing parties, the Socialists are projected to win a parliamentary majority in Sunday’s runoff.

The left block gained more than 47 percent of the vote versus 34 percent for the centre-right UMP and its partners.

Going into this Sunday’s runoff, the Socialists and allies need a minimum of 289 seats to win an outright majority. They are projected to end up with as many as 329 seats in the lower house.

The question many analysts are now asking is whether the Socialists can win an outright majority without their coalition partners?

The centre-right UMP now faces being dislodged from France’s lower house as well as the Senate, which it lost to left-wing parties last year. It would round off a disastrous few months that also saw Nicholas Sarkozy lose the presidency.

UMP leader Jean-François Copé has ruled out an alliance with the far-right, which saw its support rise to 14 percent. Due to France’s ‘first past the post’ electoral system, the National Front, led by Marine Le Pen, will most likely fail to convert that growth into more than 3 parliamentary seats.

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