First round vote in legislative election today


France votes today in the first round of their legislative election.

Around 45 million voters will be able to choose from 6,603 candidates for the 577 seats in the National Assembly. Voting takes place at 64,000 polling stations across France from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., although in the major cities the poll continues until 8 p.m.

For the first time, about two million French citizens who live outside France will elect 11 legislators to the French National Assembly, an exercise for which France has split the world into 11 electoral districts.

The Socialist Party (PS) of François Hollande are hoping to pull off a victory and win a majority of seats for which they will need 289 seats. However, the election is held in two rounds; in this first round only those candidates who gain more than 50% of the vote are elected. The second round takes place on 17th June where all candidates who gather more than 12.5% of the vote will be entitled to stand.

The latest opinion polls put the PS and the party of former president, Nicolas Sarkozy, Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) both on around 31% of the vote. If that is the case then the UMP could pull off a coup and find themselves the largest party in two weeks’ time with President Hollande having to co-habit with a centre-right administration.

First results of today’s election are expected by late evening.

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