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Sarkozy's Conservatives to Win Landslide in French Parliament Vote

  • VOA News

French President Nicolas Sarkozy's conservatives appear headed for a landslide win in Sunday's first round of parliamentary elections.

With most of the votes counted, Mr. Sarkozy's Union for a Popular Movement and its allies are projected to win at least 440 seats in the 577 seat National Assembly.

The opposition Socialists are expected to win at least 100 seats -- a large drop from its current number.

Voter turnout was 61 percent -- a record low for a French parliamentary election. Runoff elections will be held next Sunday for seats where no candidate wins a majority.

A conservative victory will help Mr. Sarkozy get his large package of economic and social reforms through parliament, including tougher sentencing for criminals, tighter immigration rules, and tax-free overtime pay for workers.

Mr. Sarkozy defeated Socialist candidate Segolene Royal in last month's French presidential election. Royal and the Socialists had called for a big voter turnout in the parliamentary elections, hoping the party could make a comeback.

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