- Boston-area tornado rips 100 homes: ‘Are we in Kansas?’
- Rush Limbaugh: ‘There is no journalism anymore’
- Scott Brown struggles for political traction in New Hampshire Senate race
- California’s Jerry Brown cites God, ‘religious call’ to embrace illegals
- Hamid Karzai’s cousin killed by suicide bomber at Eid al-Fitr party
- Obama thanks Muslims for ‘building the very fabric of our nation’
- Israel flattens home of top Hamas leader, takes out power plant
- Texas man arrested for powder-letter hoax
- Islamic State opens ‘marriage bureau’ for single jihadists
- Drone almost blocks California firefighting planes
Sarkozy allies head for landslide
Question of the Day
PARIS — French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s center-right allies were headed for a parliamentary landslide after a first-round legislative election yesterday, bolstering his chances of implementing wide-ranging reforms.
Mr. Sarkozy’s conservative UMP party won 39.6 percent of the vote, while the opposition Socialists had 24.7 percent, the Interior Ministry said.
A jubilant right said voters had decided to give Mr. Sarkozy the tools to carry out his pledge to boost growth, cut taxes and slash unemployment, but the left and centrists said a crushing right-wing majority was unhealthy and threatened democracy.
Abstention looked set to hit a record of about 39 percent, against just 16 percent in the presidential election, reflecting deep voter fatigue after months of electioneering and a widespread feeling the center-right was certain to win.
Pollster CSA said Mr. Sarkozy’s bloc, which has an absolute majority in the 577-seat National Assembly lower house, would win between 440 and 470 seats in the after a second round of voting on June 17. IPSOS Dell pollsters saw the center-right taking between 383 and 447 seats against 120 to 170 for the mainstream left.
“Everything will really be decided next Sunday. That is why all the French will have to go and vote. Change is under way,” said Mr. Fillon, whose party was set to become the first in France to hold onto power in an election since 1978.
CSA gave the opposition Socialists, in disarray since last month’s third straight loss in presidential elections, just 60 to 90 seats compared to the 149 seats the party won in 2002 elections.
Senior Socialists appealed to voters to turn out en masse next week in a bid to stem the conservative “blue tide” that risked submerging the opposition in parliament.
“Come and vote, come for yourself, come for democracy, come for the Republic, come for France, come for social justice and come to help us reconstruct a new left,” urged Socialist Segolene Royal, who remains popular despite losing to Mr. Sarkozy in the May presidential elections.
Among the big losers yesterday were parties at both ends of the political spectrum.
The far-right National Front saw its vote halved to less than 5 percent, with no seats in view, while the Communists suffered their worst parliamentary performance in postwar history, taking 5 percent of the vote, which could produce between 6 and 13 seats.
Former leftist Finance Minister Dominique Strauss-Kahn said the right risked emerging too powerful from the vote. “In the Assembly, having 400, 450 right-wing deputies and a small number of left-wing deputies makes democratic debate impossible.”
The Socialist campaign was dogged by infighting and finger-pointing after the defeat of Miss Royal. She has indicated that she would like to take over as Socialist party leader but remains a controversial figure within the left.
Francois Bayrou, the centrist who polled a strong third in last month’s presidential vote, saw his support slump and said France’s winner-takes-all system distorted democracy.
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- Border surge puts Obama legacy on immigration at stake
- White House says Russia 'losing' war in Ukraine
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
- EPSTEIN: All IRS roads lead to the archivist
- Illegal immigrants demand representation in White House meetings
- PRUDEN: When the hangman botches the job
- Federal appeals court rules against Virginia's gay marriage ban
- KEENE: Thinking outside nanny-state box with Paul Ryan
- Obama thanks Muslims for 'building the very fabric of our nation'
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq