Left-wing parties take the lead in French elections

Socialists already control the Senate and the presidency following Hollande's election last month. A decisive win by his allies would empower him to press Germany to allow more government spending in order to kickstart the eurozone's stagnant economies, a strategy that's largely shared by the Obama administration.

German chancellor Angela Merkel however is worried about adding more red ink to Europe's balance sheet, which has already forced the International Monetary Fund and the European Union to bail out debt-plagued Greece, Ireland, Portugal and now Spain.