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Third time unlucky for Hollande

Monday, September 29, 2014 - 01:31

The far-right National Front has won two seats - its first ever - in France's upper house of parliament as President Hollande's Socialist party suffered its third electoral defeat of the year. As Amy Pollock reports it's another blow to a government struggling to bring in unpopular reforms.

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France's far-right National Front celebrates its first ever seats in the Senate. Marine Le Pen's party has big ambitions for the future. (SOUNDBITE) (French) NATIONAL FRONT LEADER MARINE LE PEN SAYING: "I think we can win the presidential election, because I think it's time that common sense wins in our country and time to break with thirty years during which the country has collapsed and weakened." It was a third electoral defeat this year for the Socialist French president. Opinion polls show a mere thirteen percent of voters are satisfied with Francois Hollande. His predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy hopes that gives him another chance. He wants to lead the main opposition party, the UMP, once again, in the run up to the 2017 presidential election. Early results from the Senate vote showed it and the center-right UDI party took at least 20 seats from the ruling left. But Socialists refuse to admit defeat. Former leader of the Senate Jean-Pierre Bel: (SOUNDBITE) (FRENCH) FORMER HEAD OF FRENCH SENATE JEAN-PIERRE BEL SAYING: "I simply think that the Senate, and the delegates yesterday reset things, they could have compounded the defeat of the local elections, but they didn't ,which means it's not a third defeat." Hollande's handling of the economy is one of the reasons for his predicament. And he's promised to stick to key reforms. But one French newspaper says he's about to break two of those pledges. Les Echos says the headline deficit target agreed with the European Commission will be met two years later than planned. And the structural deficit won't be cut by as much as promised. That won't go down well in Brussels and with more opposition in the Senate pushing through any reforms will be even harder

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Third time unlucky for Hollande

Monday, September 29, 2014 - 01:31