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French Senate elects first Socialist president

(Xinhua)

10:16, October 02, 2011

PARIS, Oct. 1 (Xinhua) -- French upper house of parliament elected Saturday its first left-wing president since the Fifth Republic was founded in 1958, a week after the Socialist-led left coalition won a majority in the Senate.

An internal chamber vote has fixed Socialist candidate Jean-Pierre Bel on the position to lead the Senate against the ruling UMP lawmaker Gerard Larcher, who is the previous president of the upper house before the opposition Socialist Party and its Communist allies won two seats more than the right-wing senators in the election last weekend .

The outcome of the Senate president election was widely expected after the left-wing took control of the Senate house

A Socialist member on top of the Senate is quite a symbolic victory for the opposition as according to French constitution, the Senate leader is first in the presidential line of succession.

The 60-year-old Bel, joined the Socialist in 1983 and took the leadership of the party in the Senate in 2004. His winning over Gerard Larcher, who led the Senate from 2008 to 2011, finished the reign of the right-wing party in the upper house for over half a century.

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