- Associated Press - Monday, June 11, 2012

PARIS — Allies of President Francois Hollande mobilized Monday in hopes of securing a crushing parliamentary majority for the Socialists that could bolster him in talks on how to save the embattled euro currency and revive Europe’s economic fortunes.

Leftists dominated the first round of legislative elections, and Socialist leaders are calling for a final push of party unity ahead of Sunday’s decisive second round of voting for seats in the National Assembly.

Mr. Hollande, who was elected last month, wants his political kin to control the powerful lower house of Parliament for the next five years so he can move forward with plans to strengthen the state’s role in the economy, create thousands of teaching jobs and tackle high youth joblessness.

Final results released Monday from nationwide balloting the previous day showed the Socialists and their allies on the left winning at least 46 percent of the vote.

The main conservative bloc - led by former President Nicolas Sarkozy’s UMP party - had at least 34 percent.

The unaligned far-right National Front won 13.6 percent, remaining a wild card for the June 17 second round. Tiny parties drew the rest.

“[Voters] have clearly expressed their desire to give Francois Hollande the means to act during this five-year term,” Socialist boss Martine Aubry told reporters. “Everything has to be done, that’s why this second round is absolutely crucial - and the marching order is simple: unity and mobilization.”

Mr. Hollande didn’t address the election result in brief comments to reporters Monday after a meeting with Nigerien President Mahamadou Issoufou.

Polling agencies that have calculated the numbers precinct by precinct say the Socialists and allies could win an absolute majority in the 577-seat Assembly in the final round.

It would cap the left’s near-universal control of France’s political landscape: The Socialists won control of the Senate last year; they or their allies run 21 of mainland France’s 22 regional governments; Socialist mayors run many big cities, including Paris, Lille and Lyon.

The Socialists were once riven by personal infighting and ideological clashes over issues like the ill-fated European Union Constitution referendum in 2005.

But over the past year, their political-campaign management has improved, allowing the Socialists to capitalize on sluggish economic growth, high state debt and disillusionment with Mr. Sarkozy’s brash style to oust conservatives from years in power.

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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