Leftists poised for victory in French elections

PARIS - French voters are choosing a new parliament Sunday that will determine how far Socialist President Francois Hollande can push for economic stimulus in France and around a debt-burdened, stagnant Europe.

By (AP)

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Published: Sun 17 Jun 2012, 6:50 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 11:44 AM

The left is in the spotlight and expected to take the driver’s seat of the 577-seat National Assembly after Sunday’s second round of legislative elections.

Hollande’s Socialists dominated the first round last week and pollsters predict they will win the most seats in the lower house. That would wrench it from the hands of former President Nicolas Sarkozy’s conservatives, who have led it for a decade.

The campaign focused on local issues but will determine the country’s political direction, which has Europe-wide importance. France is the second-biggest economy in the eurozone and, along with powerhouse Germany, contributes heavily to bailouts to weaker nations and often drives EU-wide policy.

Turnout in the French voting was 21.4 percent at midday, comparable to the 2002 and 2007 legislative elections, with some voters not bothering to cast ballots because so many were predicting a Socialist victory.

The elections come after a hasty new bailout for Spanish banks, and the same day as crucial voting in Greece. The Greek elections may determine whether the country stays in the euro, with repercussions for all the other 16 countries that use the joint currency.

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