French senatorial elections began on Sunday, with about 50,000 "grand electors" voting to fill a third of the seats. The left is expected to perform well, though the right is likely to retain its majority.
Nearly 50,000 advisors and deputies at the city, regional, and national level began voting on Sunday to renew a third of the Senate's seats. The outcome is likely to favour the right, although it may tilt somewhat towards the left.
More than a hundred seats are at stake. The new senators, who are given six-year terms, will be chosen from 754 candidates.
Currently, the right has 159 seats in the Union Pour un Mouvement Populaire (UMP) - the ruling conservative party - 30 within the centre right union, 10 within the far-right and six unaffiliated slots. Fifty six UMP posts, four centrist posts, one unaffiliated and five far right posts are up for renewal.
The left has 95 seats within the socialist bloc. Among them there are five Green, 23 communists, seven radical leftist, and 29 Socialist Party (PS) votes on offer.
The battle for the Senate's presidency kicks off on Sunday night in closed voting booths at the UMP's headquarters. The favourites are Jean-Pierre Raffarin and Gérard Larcher.
Date created : 2008-09-21