The Socialists have scored so well in the first round of the French parliamentary elections that they look set to emerge with a majority. The party, led by new president Francois Hollande, needs 289 seats for an absolute majority: first round results suggest they will take between 275 and 315 seats.
That result would mean Hollande can push through the ambitious reforms he has promised – including big tax rises for the rich and more spending to boost the shrinking economy – without having to ally his party with the far left. If the Socialists win an absolute majority, they would have control of both the upper and lower house for the first time in modern history. It's a further sign that voters are rejecting the harsh austerity prescribed by Germany and Brussels – as leaders across Europe seem, finally, to be coming to the same view.
Learn more: The BBC breaks down the results in detail, and looks at what they mean for the future of France.