On Sunday, France's Socialist Party took control of the upper house of parliament, taking the senate majority from the hand's of President Nicolas Sarkozy's center-right Union for a Popular Movement (UMP).
The Socialists and their allies on the left needed just 23 of the 170 seats up for election but ended up grabbing at least 26 according to the initial tally, giving them the absolute majority and control of the house for the first time since the founding of the Fifth Republic in 1958.
“The 25th of September, 2011, will go down in history,” Jean-Pierre Bel, head of the Socialist group in the Senate, said on LCI television.
“The results of this Senate election represent a real comeuppance for the right.”
France's presidential elections are just seven months away, and the senate loss could signal the end of Sarkozy's four-year run. Sarkozy's popularity has nose-dived in recent months over high, unwavering unemployment figures and the European debt crisis, which have overshadowed foreign policy gains from France's intervention in Libya.
Before the vote, the UMP had 147of 343 seats, while the Socialist Party held 115 seats. For Sunday's election, around 72,000 elected officials -- including mayors and regional council members, voted. The presidential elections in April will be a general election and dependent on the public's votes.
Sarkozy will likely face the Socialist Party's Francois Hollande in the presidential race. Hollande is the First Secretary of the party, as well as the former mayor of Tulle, the capital of the Corrèze department in central France.
“This [Senate] victory creates a dynamic…. If we could win the presidency of the republic after winning the presidency of the Senate, that would be a good,” Hollande said on LCI television.
Aside from the political future of France, the Socialist victory may also have an effect on the economic future as well. The Senate majority could crush Sarkozy's budget-balancing plans, which included a constitutional amendment on debt. Aside from the bill, there is no other outstanding legislation that could be blocked by the Socialist Party, according to Canada's National Post.
A new Senate head will be voted in on Oct. 1, and while it doesn't necessarily need to be a member of the Socialist Party, it will likely be one. Whoever is chosen will be the next in line to be France's president, should anything dramatic happen to Sarkozy in the final months of his term.