The stakes are high for new President François Hollande as France heads back to the polls today for the second round of its parliamentary elections.
He needs control of the lower chamber to pursue his plans for confronting the euro zone debt crisis.
The first round and final opinion polls indicate Hollande’s Socialists and their allies are likely to secure an outright majority.
Jean François Cope is leading the battle for the conservatives, after Nicolas Sarkozy quit politics following his presidential defeat.
On the far-right, Marine Le Pen has built on her strong score in that election. Her National Front is expected to win seats in parliament for the first time in more than a quarter of a century.
President Hollande wants a solid majority not only to tackle France’s problems. He knows it could strengthen his hand in trying to overcome German resistance to his calls for less draconian austerity measures in Europe.