10 Jun 2012

France set for crucial election

6:12 pm on 10 June 2012

France is going to the polls for parliamentary elections expected to determine the extent and pace of reform under new President Francois Hollande.

If the president's socialist party can win a majority in Parliament, he will have the backing for his plan to ease France out of its debt crisis without exposing it to harsh austerity measures.

There is also a closely watched battle between the far right and the far left.

The far-right National Front is hoping to follow up a strong performance in the recent presidential election by gaining its first presence in the 577-seat National Assembly since the 1980s.

The BBC reports that with the senate already under the control of the Socialists, a majority in the lower house would give Francois Hollande unprecedented power to force through his reform programme.

Mr Hollande's government is due to present a revised budget plan to parliament next month.

The result of the parliamentary election will determine the pace of reform and how radical it becomes.