French Right Routed Amid Euro Crisis
Run off voting in French parliamentary elections hand Socialists and leftist allies the large majority President François Hollande needs to pass pro-growth policies—and challenge Angela Merkel’s austerity remedies for crisis-rocked euro zone countries.
French President François Hollande’s Socialist Party was poised to win control of the legislature in Sunday’s election, with partial results indicating the Left had ended the Right’s decade-long domination of parliament.
Projected results announced at 8 p.m. Sunday showed the Socialist Party (PS) winning around 291 seats of the 577-member Assemblée Nationale. If confirmed in the final tally, that Socialist majority would give Hollande the legislative muscle to implement the economic stimulus programs he’s promised France — and urged more broadly for the entire crisis-battered euro zone. Control of the legislature would not only allow Socialist lawmakers to pass Hollande’s Keynesian economic policies in the face of ferocious opposition of austerity-minded conservatives; it would also permit the Socialist majority to resist demands from nominally allied hard-left parties for even greater state spending than Hollande is expected to propose.
Initial estimates showed the PS, ecologists, and communist-allied leftist parties winning 341 seats; conservatives of the outgoing majority winning around 251; and the extreme right National Front (FN) with two to four seats—the party’s first return to parliament since the mid-1980s. FN leader Marine Le Pen was reportedly narrowly defeated in her run-off battle with a Socialist rival. Marine Le Pen’s 22 year-old niece, Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, was projected winning a seat in southern France — a victory that would make her the youngest member of parliament in history (a distinction previously earned by the 1791 election of Louis Antoine de Saint-Juste).