Print options

June 17, 2012

Hollande's Left Poised to Sweep France's Legislative Runoff

by Lisa Bryant

PARIS - French voters are casting ballots Sunday in runoff legislative elections that may give President Francois Hollande's Socialist Party a majority in the National Assembly without the help of leftist allies. French voters are also keeping tabs on Greek parliamentary elections that are taking place the same day.

The affluent 8th arrondissement in central Paris has long been a conservative stronghold. But retiree Charles Procope, leaving the city hall's polling station, says he voted for the left - casting his ballot for a candidate from President Hollande's Socialist Party.

"It's very important for him [Hollande] to get the absolute majority in order not to be the prisoner of more leftist politicians - especially on the [radical] left front or even the environmentalists," he said.

President Hollande needs a leftist majority in the National Assembly to push through his economic policies that include higher taxes for the rich, more jobs in education and a pro-growth strategy for Europe. His supporters hope he will not be forced into alliances with more radical leftist parties who would want him to change his agenda.

But conservative voters like hairdresser Alain Boiton are alarmed by a leftist wave that saw President Hollande elected in May. He voted for Pierre Lellouche, a former minister and member of the center-right UMP party of ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy.

Like many voters, Boiton's top concern is the economy. He believes the left is promising the French an economic turnaround it cannot deliver.

Voters like Asel Akhmedjanova are also worried about the outcome of Sunday's legislative elections in Greece, which may determine whether the country will stay in the 17-nation eurozone.

Akhmedjanova says she's visited Greece and finds the country and the people wonderful. She hopes Greece will stay in the eurozone and that its economy improves. For both French and Greek voters, the main worry is the same - jobs and economic growth, as the eurozone crisis stumbles through its third year.