French Socialists heading to win parliament

President Francois Hollande's Socialist Party, Green Party and allies led the first round of France's parliamentary election, leaving behind Sarkozy’s Conservatives who have dominated the lower chamber.

Amid a low turnout, the leftist parties and their allies won more than 46% of the vote, while the centre-right UMP party (Union for Popular Movement) of former president Nicolas Sarkozy took 34%. The UMP previously enjoyed an absolute majority in the National Assembly – the lower house of the French Parliament.

The final results will be clear after another round of voting next Sunday, after few candidates secured more than the 50% required to win their seats outright.

“It's a good result tonight… but we have to remain mobilized for the second round,” the country’s Foreign Minister, influential Socialist Laurent Fabius, was quoted by AP.

Projections made by four polling agencies – and early official results – show nationwide support for the conservatives is dropping.

Based on Sunday's first round, the CSA polling institute predicted that the Socialist bloc will eventually take between 283 and 329 seats in the National Assembly out of the 577 available. Its Green allies were set for 12 to 18 seats, suggesting that Hollande will be able to count on obtaining the 289 seats needed for an outright majority, Reuters reports.

CSA puts the conservatives on track to win 210 to 263 seats, while the far-right National Front is expected to get 3.

Pollsters TNS Sofres, Ipos and OpinonWay agree that the Socialists could hold power in parliament without relying on the Greens or the ‘anti-capitalist’ Left Front.

Sunday’s vote is seen as crucial to President Hollande's socialist agenda. The decisive second round of voting is scheduled for June 17.