Official figures have been released following the final round of voting in France’s legislative elections.
Nicolas Sarkozy’s UMP won an absolute majority with 314 seats, fewer than had been predicted in earlier opinion polls and fewer than the number they held in the last parliament.
Sarkozy still has the majority he needs to push forward his programme of reforms – some of which are already proving controversial.
The left are breathing a sigh of relief, having confounded the pollsters. They were predicted to be on course for a massive loss, but in fact came away with 185 seats – far from the rout the surveys had suggested – indeed, considerably more than the 149 seats they held last time round.
The newly formed Democratic Movement of centrist Francois Bayrou failed to capitalise on his relative popularity in the presidential race early this year, winning only four seats. The National Front of Jean Marie Le Pen won nothing.
Forty percent of those eligible to vote chose not to do so.