France faces hung parliament as left-wing trumps far-right with no majority

France's left-wing coalition was poised to win a plurality of seats in the parliamentary polls, delivering a blow to the far-right that was set to win the elections. As results were being declared, riots broke out in Paris and other cities.
France faces hung parliament as left-wing trumps far-right with no majority
Anjali Raj / Jaano Junction

France's left-wing alliance on Sunday was set to get the most number of seats in a stunning reversal of fortunes for the bloc in the second round of the parliamentary polls, while the far-right that won the first round and was projected to win the elections was relegated to the third spot.

President Emmanuel Macron's party is expected to finish second, but the country faces the prospect of a hung parliament after none of these groups secured a majority.

The leftist alliance, comprising the hard left, Greens and Socialists, were on track to get 184-198 seats, according to polling agencies, which are generally accurate, but short of the majority mark of 289 in the 577-seat National Assembly. Macron's centrist alliance were set to get between 160-169 seats while the far-right National Rally and its allies were expected to secure 135-143 seats.

With the official results trickling in, riots broke out in Paris and other cities as left-wing supporters gathered in Place de la Republique to celebrate the alliance getting the plurality of seats.

FRENCH PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS: THE LATEST

Videos posted on social media showed police wearing riot gear confronting the demonstrators as teargas were released, and several protesters were arrested. The demonstrators threw Molotov cocktails on the roads, setting off smoke bombs, prompting clashes between them and the riot police.

The left-wing bloc, called the Popular Front, comprises France's Socialist Party, the French Communist Party, a green political party called the Ecologists and France Unbowed. The parties forged an unlikely alliance in a bid to block the far-right from winning outright after the National Rally's stunning victory in the first round of elections.

The left-wing bloc has promised to institute several measures, including scrapping Macron's pension reform and establishing a "right to retire" at 60 years, Fox News reported. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Gabriel Attal said he would resign on Monday but would remain as caretaker prime minister until a new candidate was appointed to the post.

The results were also a blow for Macron, who called the snap election, in a bid to re-establish his political dominance. But voters punished him and his alliance for a cost of living crisis and failing public services as the National Rally surged ahead in the first round. The far-right party had also won the European Parliament elections last month.

The National Rally capitalised on the issues that French people were facing, shedding their historic reputation for racism and antisemitism, and spreading their appeal way beyond their traditional strongholds, but it was not enough to secure a victory. Despite the stunning defeat, party leader Marine Le Pen said the seeds had been sown for the future.

Hard-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon said Macron should invite the New Popular Front to govern the country and asserted that the mandate should be respected. He, however, ruled out running a coalition of various left-wing parties, leading to uncertainty over who will run the government.

On the other hand, Raphael Glucksmann, from the Socialist Party, called on the left-wing alliance partners to act like "grown-ups", saying there was a need to engage in negotiations as the bloc is ahead in a divided parliament.

Despite the uncertainty looming, volunteers of New Popular Front celebrated the news, saying they were cherishing the moment for now and did not think about the next course of action. Many of them said they were unable to come to believe that the left-wing was indeed set to trump the far-right after the stunning setback in the first round of polls, BBC reported.

All opinion polls had projected a victory for the National Rally. But with the party set to finish third, party leader Jordan Bardella blamed "unnatural political alliances" for stopping their rise to power, BBC reported.

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France faces hung parliament as left-wing trumps far-right with no majority

The election results came ahead of the Paris Olympics that will begin on July 26 and France will wait with bated breath for a new government that is required to keep the country stable during the Games and beyond following months of tensions.

Source: ANI

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