French Socialists to win control-poll

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Reuters

France's Socialist Party is set to win an outright majority in a parliamentary election on Sunday, in a result that would spare President Francois Hollande the need to rely on the support of hardline leftists hostile to European integration, a poll published on Thursday showed.

Paris - France's Socialist Party is set to win an outright majority in a parliamentary election on Sunday, in a result that would spare President Francois Hollande the need to rely on the support of hardline leftists hostile to European integration, a poll published on Thursday showed.

The OpinionWay poll showed Hollande's Socialist bloc winning between 295 and 330 seats in the 577-member National Assembly, or lower house of parliament, in the second and final round of voting.

Initial projections from a first round of voting last Sunday gave the Socialists 283 and 329 seats, with the lower end of that range leaving them short of the 289 seats needed for a majority.

That would have obliged the Socialists to count on backing from Greens or the hardline Left Front, or both, to pass laws.

Hollande, who took power in mid-May after beating Nicolas Sarkozy in a presidential election, needs to be sure of a strong hand in parliament as he prepares to steer the country through the resurgent euro zone debt crisis.

The government of Europe's second-biggest economy is planning budget adjustments, including possible spending cuts to take account of sickly growth, as well as taxes on the wealthy in a broad reform in the weeks ahead.

In the longer term he is under pressure from Berlin to give European Union institutions more control over national budgets and move towards a fiscal union - measures that Communists and other radical leftists would oppose in parliament.

Conservative lawmakers will probably vote against tax increases, though they could back legislation to ratify a European budget discipline pact that the far left opposes.

The OpinionWay poll, conducted on June 13 and 14 and based on a survey of 1,090 voters, gave the conservative UMP party 200 to 230 seats in Sunday's vote. The far-right National Front might take anything between zero and four seats, it said.

On the left, it gave the Greens, first on the Socialist list of allies, 12 to 18 seats. It showed the Left Front, a group of harliners including Communists, 8 to 12 seats.- Reuters


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