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June 12, 2012

Left poised to claim France's lower house

French President Francois Hollande may be able to pass his anti-austerity, tax-and-spend platform if the left wing takes majority of the lower house of parliament. (UPI/Brian Kersey)

PARIS (UPI) -- France's Socialist Party and its allies were poised to claim a majority in the country's lower house following the first round of parliamentary elections.

Left-wing parties moved toward a majority in the National Assembly, the lower house, in Sunday balloting, putting French President Francois Hollande in position to push for passage of his anti-austerity, tax-and-spend platform, France 24 reported Monday.

Nicolas Sarkozy, who lost the May 6 presidential election to Hollande, saw his conservative UMP party pick up 27 percent of the vote, two percentage points less than the ruling Socialist Party's 29 percent, final results released by the Interior Ministry indicated.

However, when taking into account wins by the Green Party and left-wing allies, the Socialist Party won about 46 percent, well ahead of the 34 percent for the UMP and its allies.

The second round of voting June 17 is expected to result in a majority of seats for Hollande and his allies in the 577-seat National Assembly.

Left-wing parties control the French Senate.

Voter turnout in Sunday's elections was 57 percent, a record low, France 24 said.

French electoral law states that parliamentary candidates must earn at least 12.5 percent support of all registered voters to advance to the next round.

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