PARIS (Reuters) - The French left is poised to win a clear majority in the lower house of parliament in elections this month although the Socialists will likely have to rely on smaller left-wing parties to govern, poll projections showed on Tuesday.
The left is eager to build on Francois Hollande’s victory in last month’s presidential runoff to take control of the National Assembly from the conservative UMP party in a two-round legislative election on June 10-17.
With the Senate already under the control of the left, a majority in the lower house would tighten its grip over France’s main democratic and lawmaking institutions, as well as avoid a paralysing “co-habitation” with the UMP.
In projections based on a recent survey, pollsters Ipsos Logica Business Consulting estimated that combined left-wing parties could win 303 to 357 of the lower house’s 557 seats.
Hollande’s Socialist Party would win 249-291 seats, with a high chance that they would fall short of the 289 needed for an outright majority without relying on other left-wing partners such as the Left Front and the Greens.
The Left Front was seen winning 21-23 seats and the Greens 17-23.
Meanwhile, the UMP was projected to win 209 to 255 seats, not enough to keep their grip on the house after controlling it for 10 years. The centrist Modem party and the far-right National Front were seen winning 3 or less seats.
Socialists are saying in their campaigns that the left needs a majority in parliament if voters want Hollande to go ahead with promises to cut unemployment and tackle social inequality.
Even if the Socialists do not win an outright majority, the support of hard leftists and environmentalists should allow Hollande to push ahead with his tax-and-spend plans because the opposition right would struggle to oppose them.
The projections were based on a poll of nearly 900 people on June 1-2 for Radio France.
Reporting by Leigh Thomas; editing by Mark Heinrich