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Ruling party gains lead in assembly vote

World in Brief | FRANCE

June 11, 2007|From Times Wire Reports

Voters resoundingly endorsed President Nicolas Sarkozy's plans to overhaul the French economy, giving his party a commanding lead in the first round of parliamentary elections.

His center-right Union for a Popular Movement won nearly 40% of the vote, while the opposition Socialists had about 25%, the Interior Ministry said.

Sarkozy's conservatives have a strong advantage heading into the runoff next Sunday, when the party hopes to expand its majority in the 577-seat National Assembly. Control of the parliament is central to Sarkozy's agenda of tax cuts and labor overhaul.

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