Sarkozy set for landslide win


Summary

French President Nicolas Sarkozy's right wing party is set to win parliamentary elections with a landslide following the first round of voting.

Just a month after Mr Sarkozy's presidential election victory over Socialist Segolene Royal, his UMP party and its allies were projected to win up to 501 of the 577 seats in the National Assembly, handing him a clear mandate for change.

VIDEO: French elections

Based on estimates after the close of polls, the Union for a Popular
Movement and its centrist allies were predicted to secure between 383 and 501 seats after next Sunday's run-off vote. The UMP holds 359 seats in the outgoing lower house.

Prime Minister Francois Fillon urged French voters to turn out en masse next Sunday to give his government "a majority to act".

Confident of another electoral triumph, President Sarkozy has promised a special parliamentary session next month to push through reforms including tougher sentencing rules, restrictions on immigration and more autonomy for universities.

Royal disaster

In disarray following Ms Royal's defeat, the main opposition Socialist Party (PS) faced the prospect of another humiliating ballot box drubbing.

Projections from polling firms showed the Socialists could lose more than half of their 149 seats.

Suffering from voter fatigue after the hard-fought presidential election — and possibly distracted by fine weather and the French Open tennis final — many voters did not cast ballots.

Turnout appeared headed for a record low of around 63 percent down from 84 percent in the presidential election last month.

The Socialists, whose main campaign message has been to warn of a dangerous concentration of powers if there is too big a majority for the UMP, called for voters to turn out next Sunday to restore a balance of power.

Ms Royal appealed to the 17 million voters who backed her presidential bid, saying: "I know why many of you did not come out to vote: there has been a kind of fatalism, they are sad, disappointed."

"The republic needs you, because the republic needs a great force of the left to watch over things," she pleaded.

Prospects were also bleak for the Communist Party, which was predicted to lose many of its 21 seats.

Mr Sarkozy's party has been riding high on the president's popularity since he came to power promising to revive France's ailing economy, control immigration and crack down on crime.

Two thirds of the French think Sarkozy has done a good job in his short time in office, according to surveys.


French President Nicolas Sarkozy's right wing party is set to win parliamentary elections with a landslide following the first round of voting.

Just a month after Mr Sarkozy's presidential election victory over Socialist Segolene Royal, his UMP party and its allies were projected to win up to 501 of the 577 seats in the National Assembly, handing him a clear mandate for change.

VIDEO: French elections

Based on estimates after the close of polls, the Union for a Popular
Movement and its centrist allies were predicted to secure between 383 and 501 seats after next Sunday's run-off vote. The UMP holds 359 seats in the outgoing lower house.

Prime Minister Francois Fillon urged French voters to turn out en masse next Sunday to give his government "a majority to act".

Confident of another electoral triumph, President Sarkozy has promised a special parliamentary session next month to push through reforms including tougher sentencing rules, restrictions on immigration and more autonomy for universities.

Royal disaster

In disarray following Ms Royal's defeat, the main opposition Socialist Party (PS) faced the prospect of another humiliating ballot box drubbing.

Projections from polling firms showed the Socialists could lose more than half of their 149 seats.

Suffering from voter fatigue after the hard-fought presidential election — and possibly distracted by fine weather and the French Open tennis final — many voters did not cast ballots.

Turnout appeared headed for a record low of around 63 percent down from 84 percent in the presidential election last month.

The Socialists, whose main campaign message has been to warn of a dangerous concentration of powers if there is too big a majority for the UMP, called for voters to turn out next Sunday to restore a balance of power.

Ms Royal appealed to the 17 million voters who backed her presidential bid, saying: "I know why many of you did not come out to vote: there has been a kind of fatalism, they are sad, disappointed."

"The republic needs you, because the republic needs a great force of the left to watch over things," she pleaded.

Prospects were also bleak for the Communist Party, which was predicted to lose many of its 21 seats.

Mr Sarkozy's party has been riding high on the president's popularity since he came to power promising to revive France's ailing economy, control immigration and crack down on crime.

Two thirds of the French think Sarkozy has done a good job in his short time in office, according to surveys.