Sarkozy Wins Big... Where are Villepin and Chirac Again?

[quote]PARIS – French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s center-right allies were headed for a parliamentary landslide after a first-round legislative election yesterday, bolstering his chances of implementing wide-ranging reforms.
Mr. Sarkozy’s conservative UMP party won 39.6 percent of the vote, while the opposition Socialists had 24.7 percent, the Interior Ministry said.
A jubilant right said voters had decided to give Mr. Sarkozy the tools to carry out his pledge to boost growth, cut taxes and slash unemployment, but the left and centrists said a crushing right-wing majority was unhealthy and threatened democracy.
Abstention looked set to hit a record of about 39 percent, against just 16 percent in the presidential election, reflecting deep voter fatigue after months of electioneering and a widespread feeling the center-right was certain to win.
Pollster CSA said Mr. Sarkozy’s bloc, which has an absolute majority in the 577-seat National Assembly lower house, would win between 440 and 470 seats in the after a second round of voting on June 17. IPSOS Dell pollsters saw the center-right taking between 383 and 447 seats against 120 to 170 for the mainstream left. [/quote] … -2879r.htm

Not so overwhelming after all, though still a solid majority.

[quote]French President Nicolas Sarkozy won a solid parliamentary majority for political and economic reforms on Monday but voters soured the right’s celebrations by not giving a forecast landslide and rejecting a top minister.

Final official results gave 52-year-old Sarkozy a power base of 345 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly, well below the crushing 470-seat majority predicted in some pre-poll estimates. Votes appeared to have been lost over a sales tax rise.

Sunday’s elections left Sarkozy’s Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) and its allies with fewer than the 359 seats they had enjoyed in the outgoing legislature, while the Socialists and their allies increased their haul to 207 from 149.[/quote]

Hopefully it means the end- at long last- of Gaullism.