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French Conservatives: Big Winner, Far-Right: Big Loser - 2002-06-17


French President Jacques Chirac's center-right coalition has won a decisive victory in Sunday's parliamentary elections while the far-right National Front failed to garner a single seat.

With nearly all votes counted, Mr. Chirac's conservatives have captured 392 seats, winning an absolute majority in the 577-seat National Assembly after five years of Socialist control.

France's Socialists held on to 138 seats while other left-wing parties captured only 36 seats. several seats remain undeclared.

Voter turnout was 61 percent down slightly from last week's first round of voting, which was 64 percent.

The head of Chirac's caretaker government, Conservative Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, appears set to run parliament for the next five years. The victory ends what has been called "cohabitation," a state of divided power between the government and the president.

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