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French Left-Wing Alliance Wins Big in a Surprise Election Result

A left-wing alliance has won the most seats in the French parliament following strategic voting in the second round of Sunday’s election, stalling Marine Le Pen’s far-right party. Despite this, France faces political uncertainty as no party secured an outright majority.

The New Popular Front (NFP), a coalition of parties from the far-left France Unbowed to the more centrist Socialists and Ecologists, won 182 seats in the National Assembly.

Although it became the largest bloc, it fell short of the 289 needed for an absolute majority, as reported by the French Interior Ministry.

President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist Ensemble alliance, which performed poorly in the first round last Sunday, rallied to secure 163 seats. Despite leading in the first round, Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally (RN) and its allies won 143 seats.

The RN’s initial success raised concerns that France might elect its first far-right government since World War II’s Vichy regime. However, the final outcome, resulting in a hung parliament, demonstrated the voters’ strong rejection of the far right.

More than 300 seats went to a three-way runoff between Ensemble, the NFP, and the RN after the first round. By Tuesday, over 200 centrist and left-wing candidates had withdrawn from the second round to prevent vote splitting.

Celebrations erupted in Paris as the results were announced. Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of France Unbowed, expressed profound relief to his supporters near Stalingrad Square, praising the significant civic engagement.

Gabriel Attal, Macron’s protégé, announced his resignation as prime minister on Monday morning, criticizing Macron’s decision to dissolve the parliament.

Meanwhile, the mood soured at an RN campaign event in Bois de Vincennes just before the polls closed. Jordan Bardella, the party’s young leader, lamented the projection of political uncertainty and instability.

Handpicked by Marine Le Pen to lead and reform the RN, Bardella criticized the NFP as an “alliance of dishonor” and vowed that his party would staunchly oppose the far left’s migration policies without entering any coalition.

The Elysee issued a brief statement indicating that President Macron is waiting for the complete results from all 577 constituencies before making any decisions.

The statement emphasized Macron’s role as the protector of French institutions, ensuring that the choices of the French people are honored.

Typically, the French president appoints the prime minister from the party with the most seats, usually from his own party. However, the recent election results may compel Macron to select someone from the left-wing coalition, a scenario known as “cohabitation.”

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, speaking near Stalingrad Square, declared that Macron is obligated to invite the New Popular Front to form the government.

It remains uncertain which party within the coalition Macron will choose for the prime minister role. France Unbowed is the largest single party in the NFP with 74 seats, followed by the Socialists with 59.

Despite this, Macron and his allies have consistently expressed their refusal to form a coalition with Mélenchon. After the first round of voting, the outgoing Prime Minister Gabriel Attal, a protégé of Macron, criticized France Unbowed for obstructing the formation of a viable alternative to the far right.

The NFP was established less than a month ago after Macron initiated a snap election following his party’s significant defeat to the RN in the recent European Parliament election.

The coalition, broad and potentially contentious, was named in homage to the original Popular Front, which historically thwarted the far right’s rise to power in 1936. The NFP’s recent success suggests a similar achievement.

Their campaign platform included proposals to increase the minimum monthly wage to 1,600 euros, cap prices on essential goods such as food, electricity, fuel, and gas, and to repeal Macron’s unpopular pension reforms that raised the retirement age from 62 to 64.