TopNews article on Socialists lead in French expatriate vote regarding Percent, Voting, Elections, Expatriates, Majority, French, Final, Socialist, United, South, Party, Increase, Socialists, Conservative, Citizens
Socialist candidates are leading in seven of the 11 constituencies for French citizens living abroad, Foreign Ministry figures showed on Monday, in the first parliamentary elections in which French expatriates had their own candidates.
French citizens living as far afield as the United States and Japan headed to the urns at the weekend in their first chance to choose their own parliamentary deputies, after former president Nicolas Sarkozy created 11 new foreign constituencies in 2008.
In another first, expatriates tested a new online ballot system the government hopes to use in national elections to increase voter turnout.
As of Monday, preliminary estimates from the first round of expatriate voting showed Socialists leading in a majority of regions, notably the United States/Canada, Central and South America and in North, South and Eastern Europe.
Candidates from the conservative UMP party were ahead in the Iberian Peninsula, Africa, Asia and Switzerland.
The results contrasted with last month's presidential elections, in which 53 percent of expatriates backed conservative Sarkozy, against 47 percent who chose Socialist candidate Francois Hollande.
The second and final round of voting will take place on June 17. Parliamentary elections for French residents start on June 10 and will also go to a final round a week later.
President Hollande, who took office last month, is hoping to secure a left-wing majority in parliament to help push through legislation such as a partial reversal of pension reforms and an increase in public sector jobs.
Opinion polls so far show his Socialist party beating the UMP, which is riven with internal divisions, though Hollande may fall short of a majority strong enough to give him a completely free hand.
A survey of voting intentions by CSA published last week gave the Socialists 31.5 percent of the vote against 30 percent for the UMP. Left-wing parties, including the Greens and the radical Left Front, got 45 percent, and the right 32 percent.