PARIS - President Francois Hollande's Socialist Party and its allies appeared to be on course Sunday night to win a majority in the French National Assembly after the first round of voting for the lower house.
But final results will be clear only after another round of voting next Sunday because few candidates got more than the 50 percent of the vote required to win their seats outright.
The Socialist leader hopes members of his party and the allied Greens will win a working majority of the 577 seats.
Although the Socialists are expected to be the largest party in the Assembly, the initial results Sunday night provided Hollande no certainty.
He might in the end need the support of far-left parties, which will complicate his efforts to work with Germany to strengthen the euro and promote growth.
Hollande, who won a narrow victory over Nicolas Sarkozy on May 6, needs a majority in the legislature to ensure a Socialist prime minister and to more easily pass legislation to keep his campaign promises, which include tax increases on the wealthy and corporations.
The current government is temporary, dependent on the final results of the legislative elections.
Most analysts expect that the outcome next Sunday will be a majority for the Socialists, allowing them to avoid a "cohabitation" with a right-wing prime minister. The upper house, the Senate, already passed to the control of more liberal parties last year.
The elections will also be critical for conservative parties that are fighting to define the opposition, including the center-right Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) party of Sarkozy and the far-right National Front led by Marine Le Pen.
The TNS-Sofres, CSA, Ipsos and IFOP polling agencies estimate the Socialists and their allies won between 31 and 35 percent of the vote Sunday, while UMP candidates and their allies won 34 to 35 percent.
Other leftist parties, which are expected to back Hollande in the second round, won about 12 to 13 percent of the vote, the polling agencies estimated.
The National Front was projected to win just less than 14 percent of the vote.
Final results of the first round are expected Monday.