And in France...

by Andrew Stuttaford

Via Reuters:

PARIS, June 11 (Reuters) – French President Francois Hollande is on track to win a solid parliamentary majority after a first-round election that leaves him strengthened heading into a flurry of talks with euro zone leaders that could make or break the currency union.

Sunday’s vote left Hollande’s Socialist Party bloc likely to win the 289 seats it needs for an outright majority in the 577-seat National Assembly, and almost certain to do so with its Greens Party allies on board, polling institutes said.

The seat projections indicated Hollande may not need to rely on eurosceptic hard leftists to pass legislation, relieving him of a potential headache as Berlin pressures its partners to start moving towards a fiscal union in Europe

…Hollande needs a coherent majority to back him on upcoming adjustments to the 2012 budget to reflect sickly growth and on a broad tax reform he plans for the weeks ahead that will raise taxes on the wealthy to fund his spending plans.

Even more crucial will be possible legislation in the months ahead to grant European Union institutions more power over national budgets, something that would be hard to get lawmakers outside his party and the general public to swallow…

The euro zone crisis has provided fodder for National Front leader Marine Le Pen, who built on her strong score in the presidential race by taking a commanding lead on Sunday in a northern French working class town.

With anger over the economy the single biggest motivation for French voters today, Le Pen’s party is at its closest in years to winning a parliamentary seat, having candidates in four constituencies qualified to go through to the second round.

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