Tue, Jun 12, 2012 - Page 1 News List

Hollande eyeing solid majority in French parliament

Reuters, PARIS

French President Francois Hollande is on track to win a solid parliamentary majority after a first-round election, bolstering his position as he tries to persuade Germany to promote growth more in tackling the eurozone crisis.

Sunday’s vote left Hollande’s Socialist Party bloc likely to secure the 289 seats needed for an outright majority in the National Assembly on its own, and almost certain to do so with its Europe Ecology-The Greens ally on board, polling institutes said.

Runoffs will be held next Sunday among the leading parties in constituencies where no one scored 50 percent. Initial projections based on a partial count of the first round suggested the Socialists alone could win 283 to 329 seats.

The projections indicated Hollande may not need to rely on euroskeptic hard leftists to pass legislation, relieving him of a potential headache as Berlin pressures its partners to start moving toward a fiscal union in Europe.

“The realization that the crisis is serious and that the government needs elbow room to get the country back on track is playing in favor of the government winning an absolute majority,” Stephane Rozes at the CAP political consultancy said.

Socialists were muted in their reaction, anxious to keep the pressure on supporters to vote in the runoff, but winning power in the lower house for the first time in a decade would be a triumph for the left after it took the Senate last year and won the presidency last month after 17 years on the outside.

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