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Sarkozy's UMP Party Wins by Landslide in Legislative Poll


Provisional results show French President Nicolas Sarkozy's UMP party has won a huge majority in the first round of voting in the French parliamentary elections. If Sunday's results are repeated in the second round June 17, Mr. Sarkozy will have virtually no opposition as he implements his new program. Anita Elash reports for VOA from Paris.

Nicolas Sarkozy, a conservative, won a decisive victory over the Socialist Party's Segolene Royal in the presidential election a month ago. But it was nothing like Sunday's results. According to provisional results, members of Mr. Sarkozy's UMP party placed first in up to 75 percent of constituencies. If the results are repeated in the next round of voting, Mr. Sarkozy will be virtually unopposed as he implements his program of economic reforms. They include changes to the 35 hour work week, tax cuts, and rules that would require a minimum service from some public services such as trains and subways during a strike.

One of the big surprises in the legislative elections was the low voter turnout. A near record number of people cast ballots in the presidential election. But on Sunday, only about 60 percent of eligible voters turned up at the polls. That's the lowest level of voter participation in the history of the Fifth Republic.

Shortly after the results were announced, Mr. Sarkozy's presidential rival, Segolene Royal, pleaded with left-wing supporters to cast ballots in the second round, next Sunday.

Royal said democracy needs you, because democracy needs a strong voice on the left to keep watch over our fundamental values. She said, "We need a strong voice on the left to make sure that inequality and insecurity don't get out of control."

The second and final round of parliamentary voting takes place June 17.

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