|The Senate of France|
The a stunning victory, the French Left takes control of the Senate.
Socialists, Communists and Greens take control of the Senate for the first time since 1958.
France's left-wing opposition won an historic victory in senatorial elections Sunday, in a blow to center-right leader President Nicolas Sarkozy seven months before he is to seek re-election. The Left has also been making major gains in German elections.
The Socialist Party said that, with its Communist and Green allies, it had won enough seats to give the left control of the upper house for the first time in French history, a stepping stone towards a presidential win.
"Nicolas Sarkozy will go down in history as the president that lost the right its majority in the Senate," declared Francois Hollande, favorite to win the Socialist Party's nomination to run against Sarkozy next year.
Right-wing parties have controlled the Senate since the Fifth Republic was founded in 1958, and Sunday's flip to the left could break the already weak momentum of Sarkozy's unannounced re-election drive. reports AFP.
Before the vote, outgoing speaker Gerard Larcher had admitted to AFP that if he was defeated by the left it would be a political "earthquake" and "the preparations for the presidential election would be singularly changed."
"For the first time, the National Assembly, the Senate and the president could be from the left, which would give them serious weight if they decided to modify the constitution," said political scientist Bruno Jeanbert.
The Senate is not chosen by universal suffrage but by a "super-electorate" of elected officials -- around 72,000 mayors, local and regional councillors, voting for figures on the basis of regional lists.
Around half the seats in the 348-strong house were up for grabs in the poll, and the left needed to add only 22 more seats to win a majority.
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