French Left Captures Senate

Major right-wing loss spells trouble for conservatives
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 26, 2011 3:52 AM CDT
Fran?ois Hollande, socialist candidate for the party's 2011 primary vote for France's 2012 presidential election, arrives at the French Senate yesterday in Paris, as France's left-wing opposition won...   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Socialists and other left-wing parties captured the French Senate in yesterday's elections for the first time since the founding of the Fifth Republic in 1958, reports the BBC. France's sputtering economy and high unemployment, combined with divisions among the right, caused the dramatic shift. This "will go down in history," said the head of the Socialists in the Senate. "The results of this Senate election represent a real comeuppance for the right."

Although the French Senate is less powerful than the lower house, which remains under conservative control, the vote is still a major setback to conservative president Nicolas Sarkozy. With Sarkozy already facing some of the worst poll numbers for a French president since World War II, and just seven months before the next presidential election, his re-election is facing increasingly steep odds.

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