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Legislative elections in France: The French reject Marine Le Pen’s far-right coalition, which was hoping for an absolute majority

Emmanuel Paul
Emmanuel Paul - Journalist/ Storyteller
Crédit Photo: Sipa/Michel GILE

The Audio version of the article

A surprising victory for France’s far left has emerged from recent exit polls, placing the left-wing alliance ahead of President Emmanuel Macron’s coalition and the far-right Rassemblement National (RN) in the second round of parliamentary elections.

The Nouveau Front Populaire (NFP), formed by the Socialists, Greens, Communists and France insoumise, exceeded expectations, creating a significant shift in the political landscape. No party won an absolute majority, leaving France in a state of political uncertainty over the formation of a new government. This comes just two days before a crucial NATO summit and three weeks before the Paris Olympics.

Prime Minister Gabriel Attal has announced his intention to tender his resignation to President Macron as early as this Monday, but is prepared to continue in office if necessary, not least because of the imminence of the Games. The NFP, formed last month in response to Mr. Macron’s call for early elections, is expected to win between 172 and 215 seats. Mr. Macron’s centrist coalition is expected to win between 150 and 180 seats, while the far-right party, which had hoped for an absolute majority, is expected to win between 115 and 155 seats.

This result represents a significant advance for the far right, but falls short of the victory it had hoped for, which would have been a major setback for Mr. Macron. Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of France insoumise (hard left) and figurehead of the NFP coalition, called for the left to be allowed to form the government. He praised the coalition for rising to the occasion and preventing the country from falling into the trap set by early elections. “Its components, the United Left, have risen to the historic occasion and have, in their own way, thwarted the trap set for the country. In its own way, once again, it has saved the Republic,” declared Mr. Mélenchon, according to Al Jazeera.

On the other hand, Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National, which had come out on top in the first round on June 30, suffered a major blow, as exit polls now place it behind the NFP and Macron’s Ensemble. Ms. Le Pen acknowledged the setback, but remained optimistic, declaring: “The tide is rising. It didn’t rise high enough this time, but it’s still rising and, as a result, our victory has only been delayed.”

The election campaign, considered to be the shortest in French history, was marked by threats and violence, including racist insults directed at numerous candidates and activists, Al Jazeera recalled. Despite the tense atmosphere and the deployment of 30,000 police officers to maintain order, turnout was particularly high. By 5 p.m., some 61.4% of voters had cast their ballots, the highest turnout at this stage since 1981, the Arab news provider reported.

Political analyst Rim-Sarah Alouane pointed out that while France had avoided the worst-case scenario of a far-right victory, the close vote underlined the seriousness of the political cleavages within the country. “There was a massive vote by people who, I think, simply realized how dangerous it was for the far right to come to power,” said Alouane. “But we should still be concerned that we found ourselves in this situation.”

When the dust settles, projections point to a fragmented political environment, with no clear path to the formation of a stable government. This unexpected result puts France at a crossroads, facing important decisions just before major international events. The political maneuvering of the next few days will be crucial in determining the direction of the French government and its approach to the challenges ahead, both domestically and globally.

This content is based on an article by Al Jazeera. Read the original article [here]

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2024/7/7/left-coalition-ahead-of-macron-alliance-far-right-in-france-exit-polls

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