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France’s leftists take most seats, as snap election delivers deadlock

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Supporters of French far-left opposition party La France Insoumise (France Unbowed – LFI) gather at Place Stalingrad before partial results in the second round of the early French parliamentary elections in Paris, France, July 7, 2024. REUTERS/Yara Nardi

A loose alliance of left-wing parties has won the most seats in France’s high-stakes legislative elections, beating both the far right and President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist coalition.

No one group won an absolute majority in the 577-seat National Assembly in Sunday’s run-off vote, plunging France into political limbo with no clear path to forming a new government, two days before a major NATO summit and three weeks before the Paris Olympic Games.

Prime Minister Gabriel Attal said he would offer Macron his resignation on Monday but was ready to serve “as long as duty demands”, notably in light of the imminent Games.

“Our country is facing an unprecedented political situation and is preparing to welcome the world in a few weeks,” Attal said.

The New Popular Front (NFP) – formed last month after Macron called the snap elections – brought together the previously deeply-divided Socialists, Greens, Communists and the hard-left France Unbowed together in one camp.

The left-wing group took 177 seats, with Macron’s Ensemble winning 148 seats and Marine Le Pen’s National Rally (RN) taking 142 seats.

The result marks a new high-water mark for the far right, but falls well short of the victory National Rally had been hoping for after Macron called the snap election in what he said was a bid to halt France’s slide towards the political extremes.

Left-wing supporters gathered in Republique square in central Paris to celebrate the results, with people lighting flares, playing drums, and chanting “We’ve won! We’ve won!”

Firebrand leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon, leader of the hard-left France Unbowed (LFI) and the controversial figurehead of the NFP coalition, demanded that the left be allowed to form a government.

“Its constituent parts, the united left, have shown themselves equal to the historic occasion and in their own way, have foiled the trap set for the country. In its own way, once again, it has saved the Republic.”

National Rally led the race after the June 30 first round, with opinion polls predicting it would be the biggest party in parliament after Sunday’s poll.

Macron’s office said late on Sunday that the French leader was taking note of the results.

“The President will ensure that the sovereign choice of the French people is respected,” it said in a statement.

Marine Le Pen, who is believed to be considering a fourth run for the presidency in 2027, said the outcome had laid the groundwork for “the victory of tomorrow”.

“The tide is rising. It did not rise high enough this time, but it continues to rise and, consequently, our victory has only been delayed,” Le Pen said.

Sources : aljazeera

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