French Socialists Win An Absolute Majority In Parliament
While everyone is focusing on Greece, we have news from France:
- FRENCH SOCIALISTS WIN ABSOLUTE MAJORITY IN PARLIAMENT, CSA SAYS
- FRENCH SOCIALISTS WON 320 SEATS, CSA SAYS; MAJORITY IS 289
- FRENCH SOCIALISTS WON'T NEED TO RELY ON LEFT FRONT, GREENS: CSA
So... does that mean that the recently reduced minimum retirement age wil be cut again, thank you Germany?
More from Reuters:
France voted in a parliamentary run-off on Sunday expected to give President Francois Hollande's Socialist party a majority despite low turnout, strengthening his hand in battles over euro zone crisis policy.
The clear majority that surveys predict, freeing Hollande from reliance on nor eurosceptic hard leftists, as polls suggest, would be a boon as he prepares legislation to pare back the deficit and to ratify an EU fiscal discipline pact.
Initial results will be released at 8 p.m. (1800 GMT), as early results come in from a Greek election where victory for the anti-austerity SYRIZA party could undermine its euro zone membership and send shockwaves through financial markets.
Opinion polls since last Sunday's first round suggest Hollande's Socialists stand a good chance of achieving the 289 seats needed for a majority in the National Assembly, even without adding seats from their allies in the Greens Party.
Added to their control of the Senate and the presidency, that would give the Socialists more power than they have ever held and should leave Hollande's largely social democratic and pro-Europe cabinet broadly intact.
The possible entry of Marine Le Pen's far-right National Front into parliament for the first time since the mid-1980s with up to three seats would be no more than an irritation.
But the Socialists have been concerned that low turnout might weigh on their score. Turnout at 5 p.m. was 46.2 percent, 3 percentage points down on the 2007 election and below that of last Sunday, when the final turnout hit a new low at 57 percent.
"I hope the Socialists get a majority. It's got to be better than power-sharing: at least they will be able to get something done," said Philippe Jauseau, 47, a computer engineer voting in Paris.
Hollande will fly to Mexico on Monday for the first of a flurry of summits. His decision to side with southern nations weary of austerity has opened a rift with Europe's paymaster Germany that the Socialist needs to fix fast.
"This vote is important. We need someone who can sort this mess out," said Michele, 59, a bakery employee who said her main concern was the underfunded pension system. "It'll be my turn in a few years. I want to know if I'll be able to live decently."
Hollande's chief ministers, including Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, were elected in round one by scoring more than 50 percent of votes. Those in run-off contests, such as Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici, are expected to win their seats.
Hollande's former partner Segolene Royal faces an uphill battle in the western city of La Rochelle against a popular dissident Socialist candidate.
In all, 36 deputies were elected outright last weekend and 541 constituencies are up for grabs on Sunday.
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