French voters head to the polls on Sunday in the final round of legislative elections, and President Francois Hollande's Socialist Party looks set to win a solid majority to allow him to push through his proposals for economic growth.
After a solid performance in the first round of elections one week ago, the Socialists and their allies are likely to win enough seats to take control of the lower house of parliament. Socialists already control the Senate and many regional and local governments. If the party wins a majority on Sunday, some opponents say the result will be a full-blown "Socialist state" in France. Nicolas Sarkozy's conservative party has controlled the National Assembly since 2002.
Leftists are expected to take between 300 and 366 seats in the next parliament, and conservatives between 210 and 270 seats.
But, there's been a fair amount of bargaining and heated rivalry associated with this round of the elections.
The Socialists are trying to convince the mainstream right-wing to stop cutting deals with the anti-immigrant, far-right National Front party, which is hoping to secure a real presence in the parliament. Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy's conservative UMP party is struggling mightily to hold onto seats, so candidates are targeting far-right votes as they seek a victory.
Some polls suggest Marine Le Pen's National Front party could receive up to three seats in the National Assembly. Marine is the daughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen, who founded the party, and she has revamped it as an anti-immigration party which wants to abandon the euro. Although she finished in third place in France's presidential elections behind Hollande and Sarkozy, she surpsied all pollsters with the amount of support she received.
Earlier this week, Hollande caused a media frenzy after his partner Valerie Trierweiler tweeted in support of a dissident candidate in western France, as opposed to the Socialist Party's official candidate Segolene Royal. Royal is Hollande's ex-wife and mother of his four children. The press has depicted Trierweil's move as a fit of jealousy.
PolicyMic will be following the results of the French legislative elections live. For real-time updates, refresh this page.
14:00 pm EST -
The results are in:
341 seats for the Socialists
220 seats for the UMP
about 4 seats for the National Front, a massive acheivement for a party that has had no MPs before in parliament.
This is a crushing majority for the Socialists, enabling Hollande to enact vast social change legislation if needs be. It is a sweeping victory for the Socialist party.
These are all still rough figures, but it is clear now that Segolene Royale has lost her seat in La Rochelle. She called it a 'political treason'. The word 'treason' is repeated constantly in her speech. Clearly very raw feelings there, as an extreme left candidate won her seat, with UMP support.
13:50 pm EST -
According to LeMonde, Segolene Royale is admitting defeat in her parlimantary constituency. She would, in that acse, have lost to an extreme-left candidate.
If it is the case, this is very interesting news, as she was a previous Presidential candidate and a big beast of the Socialist party.
12:50 am EST -
Tunrout is forcast at being 56% according to French media sources. Again, this stands in stark contrast with the upwards of 80% turnout in the Presidential election, and highlights the fact that for some people only the presidency matters.
Results at 8 pm French time (2pm EST)
08:30 am EST -
Bonjour everyone and welcome to PolicyMic's coverage of the French legislative elections.
The pace will be slightly mellow, with the result schedulded to be broadcast at 8pm Paris time (14:00 EST), so plenty of time to sit back and watch out for analysis and debate.
Firstly, what does this election mean? Well, if it does seem to be heading for a socialist majority, then it will consolidate beyond all doubt the mandate of President Francois Hollande. It will give the legislative 'umph' to push through piece of legislation and enact a wide agenda of change - as promised in the elections. Whether or not this will happen, is a differnet question.
We should also be keeping an eye out for the National Front, a far right party, and their final share of the vote. This will be a huge indicator as to whetehr they, as they proclaim, are the future of the right-wing in France.
So, sit back and let's see what's what.
08:40 am EST -
The last poll (This election is in two parts) went as follows:
Socialists - 46%
UMP (Centre Right) - 34%
National Front (Far Right) - 13.6%
The turn out rate was 57%.
So, if the National Front and Socialists increase their vote - at the expense of the UMP - tonight, then it will be a very interesting set of dynamics.
08:50 am EST -
Key races to look for: Segolene Royale (Socialists)m Claude Gueant (UMP), and Marine Lepen (National Front). These are big political animslas within their respectove parties, and the win or lose factor could be symbolic of the fate of their political stripe.