France goes to the polls

French voters have gone to the polls on Sunday for the second time in just over a month. The first round of parliamentary elections is expected to strengthen President Nicolas Sarkozy's hold on power.

His UMP centre right party, proposing sweeping changes to labour laws, the education system and economic policies, looks likely to increase its majority in the lower house.

The socialist opposition, whose candidate Segolene Royal was beaten by Sarkozy for the presidency, is expected to lose parliamentary seats.

A second round of voting will be held in a week’s time.