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Leftist New Popular Front

Leftist New Popular Front Secures Top Spot in French Legislative Election, Far-Right Falls to Third Place

Paris, July 08, 2024, The Europe Today: In a surprising outcome, the leftist New Popular Front (NFP) emerged victorious in the second round of the French legislative election on Sunday, relegating the far-right to third place, according to projections.

The NFP, an alliance comprising communists, greens, socialists, and Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s far-left France Unbowed party, won 182 seats. French President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist Ensemble alliance followed closely with 168 MPs, as reported by the interior ministry and cited by Le Monde newspaper.

Contrary to expectations, Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally and its allies landed in third place with 143 seats. This result comes after the first round of voting suggested a clear victory for the anti-immigration populists.

French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal announced his intention to resign following the leftist coalition’s surge to the lead. However, it remains uncertain whether President Macron will accept his resignation.

None of the parties secured an absolute majority in parliament, leading to a divided chamber with various political groups holding differing stances on key issues and lacking a history of cooperation.

The resulting hung parliament could lead to political chaos in France, with weeks of deliberation needed to determine the next prime minister. Macron, who is grappling with increasing unpopularity, may need to navigate governance alongside a prime minister opposed to his centrist policies.

Attal, a member of Macron’s Renaissance party, had been leading a minority coalition government since January, succeeding the previous centrist government that collapsed after passing a contested immigration bill.

This legislative election was widely seen as a strategic move by Macron to break the parliamentary deadlock and secure a majority. However, this gamble appears to have backfired.

Macron’s office stated that he would “wait for the new National Assembly to organize itself” before making decisions regarding the new government.

The National Assembly is set to convene in full session for the first time on July 18.

Although tactical voting denied the far-right a clear victory, they managed to significantly increase their seats from the 88 they held following the previous election.

Macron and his centrist allies are also likely discontented with the far-left securing the most seats.

Former Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, under Macron’s administration, expressed willingness to collaborate with other parties to form a coalition government but ruled out any alliances with Mélenchon.

The uncertainty in France, the EU’s second-largest economy and the bloc’s biggest military power, could have broader implications. However, some European leaders expressed relief at Sunday’s results.

“In Paris enthusiasm, in Moscow disappointment, in Kyiv relief. Enough to be happy in Warsaw,” Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk commented on X.

Reactions from French Political Leaders
Jean-Luc Mélenchon of France Unbowed celebrated the results, calling them an “immense relief for a majority of people in our country.”

Olivier Faure of the Socialist Party, part of the NFP alliance, emphasized the need to restore the country on a clear basis, stating that the New Popular Front must lead this new chapter in French history. He rejected the idea of a “coalition of opposites” that merely continues Macron’s policies.

Jordan Bardella, president of the far-right RN, had initially hoped to become the prime minister. Following the party’s disappointing result, he claimed that “France is being thrown into the hands of the far left” and condemned the “alliance of dishonor.” Marine Le Pen added that their victory had only been delayed.

Macron called for the snap legislative elections after the far-right surge in the European parliamentary elections in June.