- Title: FRANCE/FILE: France set to vote in final round of parliamentary elections
- Date: 16th June 2012
- Summary: PARIS, FRANCE (FILE - JUNE 10, 2012) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
- Embargoed: 1st July 2012 13:00
- Location: France
- Country: France
- Topics: Politics
- Reuters ID: LVADWHVE3ITOV7Q01WPFY2TWJM51
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- Story Text: Final preparations were under way on Friday (June 15) in France for the second round of a general election -- the final act in a political marathon that will have given France a new president and a new parliament controlled by the centre-left.
Ballot boxes and voting papers were being prepared at polling stations in constituencies where candidates have gone forward to a runoff after having failed to win more than one half of the vote in last week's first round.
At stake are the 577 seats in the National Assembly. The latest opinion polls show that French President Francois Hollande should be able to count on a stable majority that will help write his tax-and-spend policies onto the statute books.
The vote -- the fourth major election in nine weeks -- will largely be obscured by election in Greece, where analysts say the future of the euro is being played out.
The biggest question in France will be whether the country's voters will return parliamentarians from the hard right National Front to the lower house of parliament for the first time in 24 years.
"It (National Front) is a major political force and it's a good thing that they are in the political scene. And I think to ignore 20 percent of the French of any representation is not a good thing for our political system and we shouldn't imitate the Anglo-Saxon system with the Democrats on one side and the Republicans on the other side. There is real diversity in France which needs to be respected," Edouard Ferrand, who is from the Bourgogne region of France said.
The outcome is not clear, but polls are forecasting that the Front could win anything between zero and three seats. National Front leader Marine Le Pen has been campaigning hard in the northern French constituency of Henin Beaumont, an unemployment blackspot where she easily defeated the far left. And in the south of France 22-year-old Marion Marechal-Le Pen has been, the Front leader's niece, stands a reasonable chance of winning a seat.
"We are going to have the same results in these parliamentary elections as the presidential elections so that the majority is able to work, is able to do things, and see the same results as in the presidential elections," Parisian Anne-Marie Cordonnier said.
Although it will not have a major impact on the stability of his government or his legislative assembly, Hollande will also be looking to the western French seat of La Rochelle, where his former partner and mother of his four children is battling for re-election against a dissident Socialist candidate.
An otherwise featureless campaign was briefly brightened earlier this week when Hollande's current partner, Valerie Trierweiler, supported the dissident against Royal, a former Socialist presidential candidate who lost elections in 2007.
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