Hollande’s left clinches victory in French vote

City A.M. Reporter
FRANCOIS Hollande’s Socialist party won an absolute majority in France’s parliament yesterday, giving a boost to the President as he presses Germany to support debt-laden Eurozone states hit by austerity measures.

The Socialists won between 296 and 321 seats in yesterday’s parliamentary election runoff, according to projections, giving him a comfortable majority to steer policies through the lower chamber.

The left-wing triumph means Hollande, elected in May, won’t need to rely on the environmentalist Greens, projected to win 20 seats, or the Communist-dominated Left Front, set for just 10 deputies, to pass laws. The centre-left already controls the upper house of parliament, the Senate.

“It’s a much bigger majority than expected,” said political analyst Mariette Sineau at the CEVIPOF institute. “It can only reinforce Hollande’s position internationally rather than having a weak majority and being hostage to the Greens and Left Front.”

But the biggest upset of the night was the victory of three anti-immigrant National Front candidates, including Marion Marechal-Le Pen, the blonde granddaughter of party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen.

Hollande supporter and Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, who held his seat in parliament yesterday, said the government would throw its energy into bolstering public finances, stimulating growth and bringing down unemployment, in the Eurozone as well as France.

“The goal is to shift Europe towards growth and protect the euro zone from speculation. The task before us is immense,” he said yesterday.