The results of the first round of the parliamentary elections held in France last Sunday show that the Left has virtually no chance of regaining power after the second round of voting on Sunday 16. The right-wing parties seem to be riding on the wave created by Chirac's presidential election victory a month ago and have come top of the poll. The UMP alliance (comprised of the Gaullist RPR and pro-Chirac elements of the centre-right party UDF  ) obtained 34.23% of the vote compared to 25.28% for the Socialist Party (PS) and left-radicals. By adding the votes of the other right-wing candidates, their score totals 43.66% of the vote compared to 37.47% for the mainstream Left (socialists, left-radicals, communists and greens). However, the most striking feature was the rate of abstention which stood at a record 35.62% (nearly 15 million voters) compared to 32.04% five years ago and 16.99% in 1978, just three years before socialist president Mitterrand took power.