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France: President Hollande’s Socialist Party secures parliamentary majority

The President Francois Hollande celebrates, while his predecessor and UMP leader Nicolas Sarkozy mourns a stinging loss.

France vote count 120618Enlarge
People watch votes for the French parliamentary election's second round being counting in the first constituency of Charente-Maritime. (Xavier Loety/AFP/Getty Images)

France's Socialist Party (PS) has won an absolute majority in the second round of the parliamentary elections held on Sunday.

France 24 reports that the PS will get 300 seats in the lower-house National Assembly, compared to 207 seats for the center-right Union for a Popular Movement (UMP).  The result will see the PS take control of France’s parliament for the first time in ten years.

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The party's leader, President Francois Hollands, had urged voters to give him the majority he needs to steer France through Europe's debt crisis, rising unemployment and a faltering economy, says AFP.

An absolute majority means Hollande won't need to rely on the environmentalist Greens or the Communist-dominated Left Front, explains Reuters. They were projected to win 20 and 10 seats respectively. The center-left already controls the upper house of parliament, the Senate.

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Elsewhere, the far-right Front National won its first parliamentary seats in a quarter of a century, in what The Telegraph describes as "an electorally small but highly symbolic development." It's leader Marine Le Pen lost her bid for a seat in the northern Hénin-Beaumont constituency by a handful of votes, says the Washington Post.  However, her 20-year-old niece Marion Marechal Le Pen was elected in the southern town of Carpentra and will become the youngest-ever MP to serve in parliament.

Former President Nicolas Sarkozy's UMP party, which dominated the outgoing National Assembly, will see the results as "a stinging loss", says Associated Press.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/france/120617/france-president-hollande-s-socialist-party-secures-parli