Hollande braced for 'worst nightmare' in elections

President's austerity plans are in jeopardy as the hard left is set for a strong showing

Paris

President François Hollande may be forced to make policy concessions to France's virulently anti-austerity hard left after parliamentary elections tomorrow and next Sunday.

One of the final opinion polls before the first round of the elections showed a slight fall in support for Mr Hollande's Parti Socialiste. The Ipsos poll published yesterday suggested that Mr Hollande and his prime minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, might have to rely on Green, Communist and other hard-left votes to push their programme though the new National Assembly.

Supporters of Jean-Luc Mélenchon's Front de Gauche can be expected to back large parts of Mr Hollande's programme but will stoutly resist the spending cuts needed if France is to reduce its deficit, as promised, to 3 per cent of GDP next year. Communist and other hard-left members are also expected to call for a larger rise in the minimum wage than the modest increase promised by Mr Hollande during his successful run for the presidency this spring.

Another poll by Opinionway suggested that Socialists and Greens might have a large enough moderate-left majority to rule without the harder left after the second round next Sunday. Mr Hollande will certainly hope so. One of his closest aides has described the prospect of a hard-left pivotal vote in the new parliament as "our worst nightmare".

All recent polls suggest that, over the next two weekends, the French electorate will confirm its left turn in the presidential elections and kick the existing centre-right majority out of the lower house of parliament.

However, the small-print of the results in a fiendishly complicated two round system could make all the difference to Mr Hollande's chances of a successful presidency. Although the new French president has called for pro-growth policies in Europe and an end to "all austerity", he has also promised a "responsible" approach to debts and deficits.

The constitutional powers of a French president are more limited than those of an American president. It is the political complexion of the National Assembly which decides whether a president can rule with his own political friends and allies or whether he must appoint one of his opponents as prime minister.

The other great unknown in the election is whether the 15 per cent national support for Marine Le Pen's far right National Front will give the party seats in parliament for the first time under the present electoral rules. Pollsters forecast that the NF could win at most two seats.

News
peoplePaper attempts to defend itself
Voices
voicesWe desperately need men to be feminists too
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Account Executive/Sales Consultant – Permanent – Hertfordshire - £16-£20k

£16500 - £20000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

KS2 PPA Teacher needed (Mat Cover)- Worthing!

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: KS2 PPA Teacher currently nee...

IT Systems Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Day In a Page

Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

BBC Television Centre

A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum