French Opposition Gains at Polls

Socialists' showing means trouble for Sarkozy, reform plans
By Lucas Laursen,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 10, 2008 11:45 AM CDT
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, right, casts his ballot in the Paris municipal election Sunday, March 9, 2008 in Paris. French local elections got under way Sunday, a test for conservative President...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The Socialist Party gained in French local elections yesterday thanks to a wave of hostility toward Nicolas Sarkozy, reports the BBC. With 96% of the votes counted, Sarkozy’s party was at 45.5% and the opposition coalition of Socialists, Greens, and Communists at 47.9%, Bloomberg reports. Sarkozy allies were pleased that there had not been a threatened "pink wave" of leftist support.

In the runoff elections scheduled for Sunday, power in Marseilles, Toulouse, and Strasbourg hangs in the balance. Sarkozy, whose approval rating has slipped to 38% from a high of 67%, went into the elections saying he wouldn’t make major changes to his cabinet or reform plans: “The crucial date for me is the end of my term.”