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Socialist leaders in call to vote

Hollande, Ayrault and Aubry push for votes in this weekend's elections so they can get programme passed

"GET OUT and vote" was the call from Socialist leaders as they pushed voters to join in this weekend's first round of the parliamentary elections.

President François Hollande led the way, saying on a visit to the Oise: "I call on the French to vote; to give a large majority, a solid and coherent one."

Party rivals Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault and party secretary Martine Aubry put aside their differences at a meeting in Lille to ask voters to "make another big effort" to give the government a majority in the National Assembly and allow it to carry out its programme.

They fear left-wing voters will sit back after the presidential election success but point out that an Assembly majority is needed to pass laws on the plans for a public investment bank, new banking laws, the new "generation contracts" to let older workers train new-starts, and homosexual marriage.

Ayrault said: "Come on, one more effort so that we can succeed together in changing and restoring justice in our country."

Surveys have show that the Left is on the way to gaining between 290 and 320 seats in the parliament, above the 289 threshold for an absolute majority. But Ayrault does not want to have to depend on other Leftist groupings such as the Front de Gauche or even the Ecology Party.

The opposition UMP could win between 209 and 247 seats and Marine Le Pen's far-right National Front could win four seats.
Photo: Charles Hendelus

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