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French PM re-elected in first round of legislative election

(Xinhua)

08:16, June 11, 2012

PARIS, June 10 (Xinhua) -- French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault was reelected in France's Nantes in the third district of the Loire-Atlantique, in the first round of parliamentary elections held Sunday, local media reported.

The 62-year-old Socialist politician was appointed as prime minister after Francois Hollande won the presidential election in mid-May.

Ayrault has sat in the parliament since 1986 and headed the Socialists' group in the National Assembly, or the lower house of the bicameral Parliament of France, since 1997. He has served as mayor of France's sixth largest city of Nantes Since 1989.

The Socialist Party (PS, left) had adopted the principle of non- dual mandate, which states that "parliamentarians will not earn their mandate and function with the responsibility of a local executive."

To comply with this principle, Ayrault said that the City Council of Nantes would meet before the end of June to elect a new mayor.

According to French media reports, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius was also reelected in the first round.

President Hollande has informed ministers that anyone who fails to win the legislative election will leave the government.

Apart from Minister of Justice Christiane Taubira and Minister of Women's Rights Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, both of whom have decided not to stand for election, 24 others have taken up the challenges to be candidates.

On the right-wing side, former prime minister Francois Fillon and the Secretary General of the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP, center-right), Jean-Francois Cope, were qualified for the second round, which will take place on June 17.

French election system rules that any candidate who obtains over 50 percent in the first round of vote will be elected outright as the member of parliament (MP), otherwise, those gaining at least 12.5 percent of the first-round votes are qualified to enter the second round where the highest scorer wins.

The first-round polls, which opened Sunday at 0600 GMT in mainland France, closed at 1600 GMT in most municipalities, and 1800 GMT in major cities.

About 46 million French voters went to the polls to elect 577 deputies of the National Assembly. Some 6,611 candidates are registered. The PS and its allies would win parliamentary elections, according to opinion survey results published Sunday after the end of the first round of voting.

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