France is going to the polls for parliamentary elections expected to determine the extent and pace of reform under new President Francois Hollande.
If the president's socialist party can win a majority in Parliament, he will have the backing for his plan to ease France out of its debt crisis without exposing it to harsh austerity measures.
There is also a closely watched battle between the far right and the far left.
The far-right National Front is hoping to follow up a strong performance in the recent presidential election by gaining its first presence in the 577-seat National Assembly since the 1980s.
The BBC reports 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 reform programme.
Mr Hollande's government is due to present a revised budget plan to parliament next month.
The result of the parliamentary election will determine the pace of reform and how radical it becomes.