July 20, 2024, Saturday
Nepal 1:37:26 pm

Left alliance wins most seats in French Parliamentary polls

The Nepal Weekly
July 9, 2024

A left-wing alliance has won the most seats in the recently held French parliamentary polls after tactical voting in Sunday’s second round voting thwarted Marine Le Pen’s far-right party — but France will be left in political limbo after no party came close to winning an absolute majority.

Unable to call a new election for at least another year, and with three years left of his term, President Emmanuel Macron looks set to preside over an unruly parliament, as problems mount at home and abroad.

In a surprise result, the New Popular Front (NFP) — a cluster of several parties ranging from the far-left France Unbowed party to the more moderate Socialists and the Ecologists — won 182 seats in the National Assembly, making it the largest group but a little short of the 289 required for an absolute majority. Macron’s centrist Ensemble alliance won 163 seats and Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally (RN) party and its allies secured 143 seats.

The RN’s strong showing in the first round stirred fears that France could be on the cusp of electing its first far-right government since the collaborationist Vichy regime of World War II. But Sunday’s results come as a huge upset and show French voters’ overwhelming desire to keep the far right from gaining power — even at the cost of a hung parliament.

Cheers rang out on the streets of Paris as projected results suggested a leftist victory. Speaking to a crowd of his ecstatic supporters near Stalingrad square, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the firebrand leader of France Unbowed, said the results came as a “huge relief for the overwhelming majority of people in our country.” Meanwhile, Jordan Bardella, the far-right RN’s 28-year-old leader, said France had been thrown into “uncertainty and instability.”

Who will be the next PM?

Prime Minister Gabriel Attal, Macron’s protege, announced he would resign on Monday morning — but it remains unclear who will succeed him. Sunday’s results mean Macron faces the prospect of having to appoint a figure from the left-wing coalition, in a rare arrangement known as a “cohabitation.” However, figures in Macron’s party have repeatedly said they would refuse to work with France Unbowed, saying it is just as extreme — and therefore as unfit to govern — as the RN.

In a brief statement, the Elysee said Macron is awaiting the full results of all 577 constituencies “before taking the necessary decisions.” “In his role as guarantor of our institutions, the president will ensure that the sovereign choice of the French people is respected,” it said.

Édouard Philippe, France’s former prime minister and an ally of Macron, said the president’s gamble of calling a snap poll had resulted in “great vagueness.” “The truth is that none of the political blocs in the assembly has a majority on its own to govern.”