June 17, 2012 - 18:50 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - French voters are choosing a new parliament that will determine how far Socialist president Francois Hollande can go with his push for government-sponsored stimulus around Europe, Belfast Telegraph said.
Polling stations opened Sunday June 17 morning around mainland France for the second, decisive round of parliamentary elections.
Mr Hollande's Socialists and their allies dominated the first round last week and are expected to win the most seats in the 577-seat National Assembly. Former president Nicolas Sarkozy's conservatives have led it for a decade.
Markets are worried about growth in government spending when France's debts are so high.
France's political direction is important to the rest of Europe because it is the second-biggest economy in the eurozone and contributes heavily to bailouts to weaker nations and often drives EU-wide policy.
The left is in the spotlight and expected to take the driver's seat of the National Assembly after June 17 second round of legislative elections.
The decisive second round election comes after a hasty new bailout for Spanish banks, and the same day as crucial voting in Greece. The Greek elections may determine whether the country stays in the euro, with repercussions for all the other 16 countries that use the joint currency.
After budget-tightening in France under Mr Sarkozy that leftists warned would send France back into recession, Mr Hollande is pushing for government-sponsored stimulus to encourage growth - and has met opposition from German chancellor Angela Merkel as the two try to stem Europe's crisis.
Mr Hollande's Socialist government has pledged to reduce the deficit, but markets are worried about higher spending when France's debts are so high.
Mr Hollande, a moderate and mainstream leftist who is committed to European unity, is hoping to get an absolute majority of 289 seats for the Socialists to avoid having to make concessions to the Euro-sceptic far left.