French voters are going back to the polls today to elect representatives for all 577 seats in the Assemblee Nationale representing mainland France and its overseas territories.
Voters could give recently elected socialist president Francois Hollande a mandate to dismantle austerity measures in France and beyond. They could also give a counterbalance to his agenda by voting in a majority of his conservative opponents.
The Socialists are aiming for at least 289 seats in order to win a majority. However, if the winners fail to obtain more than 50% of the vote today, the race will go to a second round or run off.
According to reports from the Associated Press, turnout was 21% by midday (slightly below the 26% who had voted at the same time in the first round of the last parliamentary elections in 2007).
The polls close at 11:00 AM (ET) and PolicyMic will be live updating the results. Stay tuned.
Sunday, 3:01 PM: According to the BBC, The Socialists appear tied with the right-wing UMP party on about 35% of the vote, but the support of Green allies gives them closer to 40%.
The early indications are that turnout has been much lower than in the presidential elections in April, at about 60%.
The TNS-Sofres, CSA, Ipsos and Ifop polling agencies estimated that the Socialists - and their allies - won 31-35% of the vote, while the UMP - party of former President Nicolas Sarkozy - won 34-35%, according to reports fromthe Associated Press.
But the projections show other leftist parties - expected to back Mr Hollande - winning another 12-13%.
The BBC's Christian Fraser, in Paris, says that with the Senate already under the control of the Socialists, a majority in the lower house would give Francois Hollande unprecedented power to force through his reforms.
The election also saw a surge in support for Marine Le Pen's far right National Front, which won almost 14% of votes, according to the exit polls.