Voter surveys pip Socialist majority in France | News | DW | 17.06.2012
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Voter surveys pip Socialist majority in France

Voting has now closed in France's parliamentary runoff, and early indications predict President Francois Hollande's Socialist party have edged out their rivals, despite a low vote turnout.

Initial results suggest Hollande's Socialists may have obtained the 289 seats needed for a majority in the National Assembly.

Those indications suggest Marine Le Pen's far-right National Front will gain the votes required to enter parliament for the first time since the mid-1980s with three seats.

Socialists were concerned the low voter turnout might weigh on their score.

Griechenland Wahl Wahlzettel Stimmzettel

Low voter turnout concerned the Socialist party

Official figures suggest that two hours before the polls closed turnout was at 46.2 percent, three percentage points down on their 2007 election result and below that of last Sunday's first-round voting.

The vote comes a week after the first round of the election, in which just 36 candidates secured the 50 percent majority needed to win a seat outright in the 577-member National Assembly.

Most the remaining 541 constituencies are two-way races. Just 34 of the still contested seats are three-way battles between candidates who won the qualifying 12.5 percent.

Eurozone crisis looms large

Titel: Griechischer Wahl Schlagworte: Griechenland, Wahl Wer hat das Bild gemacht?: Andy Valvur Wann wurde das Bild gemacht?: 17. Juni, 2012 Wo wurde das Bild aufgenommen?: Naxos, Griechenland Bildbeschreibung: Bei welcher Gelegenheit / in welcher Situation wurde das Bild aufgenommen? Wer oder was ist auf dem Bild zu sehen? Wahlzettel und Wahlmaterial In welchem Zusammenhang soll das Bild/sollen die Bilder verwendet werden?: Artikel Bildrechte: (Grundsätzlich nur eine Variante möglich, Nichtzutreffendes bitte löschen.) - Der Fotograf / die Fotografin ist (freie) Mitarbeiter(in) der DW, so dass alle Rechte bereits geklärt sind.

Hollande called for a pan-European banking union to help struggling countries

A big win for Hollande would strengthen the French president's position at the European level, particularly in his ideological battle with German Chancellor Angela Merkel over whether to ease strict austerity in favor of growth measures.

Hollande has spoken out in favor of Eurobonds, which would collectivize eurozone debt in a bid to drive down borrowing costs for crisis countries. He has also called for a banking union with a pan-European deposit guarantee.

Chancellor Merkel has rejected those proposals as premature until eurozone members make a decisive move toward a fiscal union.

The French election, however, has been overshadowed somewhat by the parliamentary polls in Greece. If the far-left SYRIZA wins control of the government in Athens and rejects the bailout terms as promised, then Greece would likely exit the eurozone. That could have a cascade effect on other highly indebted eurozone nations, such as Italy and Spain.

jlw/tm (dpa, AFP, Reuters)