News / Europe

    French Socialists Win Majority in Parliamentary Vote

    Votes are seen through a polling box during legislative election in Saint Germain-en-Laye, 15 kms west of Paris, Sunday, June 17, 2012.Votes are seen through a polling box during legislative election in Saint Germain-en-Laye, 15 kms west of Paris, Sunday, June 17, 2012.
    x
    Votes are seen through a polling box during legislative election in Saint Germain-en-Laye, 15 kms west of Paris, Sunday, June 17, 2012.
    Votes are seen through a polling box during legislative election in Saint Germain-en-Laye, 15 kms west of Paris, Sunday, June 17, 2012.
    Lisa Bryant

    PARIS - Initial results show that France's Socialist Party has captured the absolute majority of the country's National Assembly seats in Sunday's runoff elections, giving newly elected President Francois Hollande a strong mandate to carry out his economic policies.  But the French elections were shadowed by those in Greece, which might determine that country's future in the eurozone. 

     

    French Socialists cheered their resounding victory, as election results showed they will hold a commanding majority in the lower house or parliament.  Out of power for years, the Socialist Party also commands the Senate.

     

    Speaking to the nation, French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said the new leftist majority is determined to govern in a way that is fair and responsible.

     

    But Mr. Ayrault also described the economic challenges for France and the 17-nation eurozone.  He said everything will be difficult, but that France has enormous attributes, particularly its young people.

     

    The election results are a blow for the conservative UMP party that commanded the last National Assembly, which is still reeling from the defeat of former president Nicolas Sarkozy in May.  Other longtime UMP members were also defeated in this runoff vote, including former Defense and Interior Minister Michele Alliot Marie. 

     

    But the Socialists also suffered some losses.  President Holland's former partner and one-time presidential candidate Segolene Royale lost her seat in the coastal city of La Rochelle.

     

    Voter turnout was also low, with more than 40 percent of voters staying home. 

     

    Far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen was also defeated.  But her niece, Marion Marechal Le Pen, won her race. 

     

    In remarks to supporters, Marine Le Pen struck a combative tone, describing a new era in which the center-right will fade and the far right will dominate conservative politics. 

     

    Many French were closely following another legislative vote on Sunday - in Greece.  Casting his ballot in Paris, retiree Charles Procope said he was anxious about the outcome. "I'm extremely worried.  If the Conservative Party, which stands for keeping Greece with the euro and the European Union [loses], the euro will collapse and it will probably be the end of Europe," he said. 

     

    Speaking on French television, Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said he is in close touch with his European counterparts on Greece. 

     

    Mr. Moscovici said eurozone ministers are issuing a statement calling on Greece to respect its financial bailout engagements, saying they want to help Athens emerge from its economic crisis.  The Socialist governing majority is expected to support President Hollande as he pushes a pro-growth agenda for the eurozone.  

    You May Like

    Video Russia's Expat Community Shrinking

    Russia's troubled economy, tensions with West have led hundreds of thousands of foreigners to leave for better opportunities

    Accelerating the Push Against Islamic State: What Will Work?

    Experts stress need to step up military action, address root causes of Muslims' disaffection, counter IS social media messages in a massive way

    Experts: N. Korean Abductions Sought to Halt Brain Drain

    Pyongyang abducted about 3,800 South Koreans and more than a dozen Japanese nationals in late 1970s

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.