France election results as National Rally crushed by last minute coalition | World | News

Huge crowds gathered in Paris to celebrate victory

Huge crowds gathered in Paris to celebrate the surprise victory of the left-wing union over Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally (Image: Anadolu via Getty Images)

The prospect that a hard right government could take hold in France has been shattered after a surprise win for an alliance of left wing groups that formed to oppose a rising tide of nationalist parties in the French parliament. Marine Le Pen’s National Rally were reported to have champagne on ice ahead of their expected victory, but were slammed into third place.

The recently formed coalition managed to gain 182 seats, while President Macron’s allies held onto 168 through an agreement to unite against the right in many seats. However, the agreement between Macron’s allies and the left wing parties failed to deliver a majority in the parliamentary election for either grouping, meaning more political turbulence ahead for the French public.

That could rattle markets and the French economy, the EU’s second-largest, and have far-ranging implications for the war in Ukraine, global diplomacy and Europe’s economic stability.

In calling the election on June 9, after the right surged in French voting for the European Parliament, President Emmanuel Macron said sending voters back to the ballot boxes would provide “clarification.”

In almost every way, that roll of the dice seems to have backfired. According to results tallied early Monday, the leftists surged to take the most seats in parliament, with 182. Leaving Macron’s centrists in second place with 168 seats, while the unpopular president will now have to form alliances to run the government.

Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally, which had led in the first round of voting, got 143 seats.

That means all three main blocs are well short of the 289 seats needed to control the 577-seat National Assembly. “Our country is facing an unprecedented political situation and is preparing to welcome the world in a few weeks,” said Prime Minister Gabriel Attal, who plans to offer his resignation on Monday.

Attal made clearer than ever his disapproval of Macron’s shock decision to call the election, saying “I didn’t choose this dissolution” of the outgoing National Assembly, where the president’s centrist alliance used to be single biggest group, albeit without an absolute majority.

But there could be worse electoral news for the battered Macron, with initial analysis showing that the success of many of the liberal candidates came down to left wingers tactically voting against the far right. French pollsters breaking down the initial results of the second round found that the agreement made in many seats saw a “massive” transfer of votes from the left to the center in the seats where the other option was a National Rally politician.


A demonstrator holds an umbrella in a cloud of smoke (Image: AFP via Getty Images)

However, the Ipsos analysis showed that centrist voters were “more timid” and less likely to vote for a left wing candidate when faced with the same alternative.

In Paris’ Stalingrad square, supporters on the left cheered and applauded as projections showing the alliance ahead flashed up on a giant screen. Cries of joy also rang out in Republique plaza in eastern Paris, with people spontaneously hugging strangers and several minutes of nonstop applause after the projections landed.

Marielle Castry, a medical secretary, was on the metro in Paris, when the projections were first announced after polls closed.

“Everybody had their smartphones and were waiting for the results and then everybody was overjoyed,” said the 55-year-old. “I had been stressed out since June 9 and the European elections. … And now, I feel good. Relieved.”
Even before votes were cast, the election redrew France’s political map.

It galvanized parties on the left to put differences aside and join together in a new alliance, the New Popular Front, behind pledges to roll back many of Macron’s headline reforms, embark on a massively costly program of public spending and, in foreign policy, take a far tougher line against Israel because of the war with Hamas.

Macron described the left’s coalition as “extreme” and warned that its economic program of many tens of billions of euros in public spending, partly financed by tax hikes for high earners and on wealth, could be ruinous for France, already criticized by EU watchdogs for its debt.

Yet, as projections and ballot-counting showed the New Popular Front with the most seats, its leaders immediately pushed Macron to give the alliance the first chance to form a government and propose a prime minister to share power with the president. The most prominent of the leftist coalition’s leaders, Jean-Luc Melenchon, said it “is ready to govern.”


Clashes occur on the outskirts of a celebration of the election night (Image: AFP via Getty Images)

As the skies over Paris began to darken Tuesday night and more seats began to declare, many began to leave the public squares where they had gathered to celebrate the surprise victory over Le Pen’s party, but fragments of protesters continued their action of recent weeks and clashed with police.

On the streets around the Republique plaza, fireworks were launched at police in the city that has seen so much unrest in recent months. 30,000 officers had been called in from around France, expecting a far right win and violence from anti-fascist protesters, but much of the heat appeared to have been taken out of the clashing groups, who dissipated after a couple of hours following the surprise smashing of the National Rally.

Although the National Rally fell far short of its hopes of securing an absolute majority that would have given France its first far-right government since World War II, the anti-immigration party with historical links to antisemitism and racism has taken more seats than ever in the National Assembly.

After the party finished top of the first-round vote last weekend, its rivals worked together to dash its hopes of an outright victory in Sunday’s runoff, by strategically withdrawing candidates from many districts. That left many far-right candidates in head-to-head contests against just one opponent, making it harder for them to win.

Many voters decided that keeping the far right from power was more important to them than anything else, backing its opponents in the second round, even if they weren’t from the political camp they usually support.

National Rally leader Marine Le Pen, thought to be eyeing what would be her forth run for the French presidency in 2027, said the elections laid the groundwork for “the victory of tomorrow.”

“The tide is rising,” she said. “It did not rise high enough this time. The reality is that our victory is only deferred,” she added.

Jordan Bardella, Le Pen’s 28-year-old protege who’d been hoping to become prime minister, rued that the outcome of the vote “throws France into the arms of the extreme left.”

In a statement from his office, Macron indicated that he wouldn’t be rushed into inviting a potential prime minister to form a government. It said he was watching as results come in and would wait for the new National Assembly to take shape before taking “the necessary decisions.”

Thousands gather in Paris to celebrate victory

Thousands poured onto the streets of Paris after the shock election rout (Image: Getty)

A hung parliament is unknown territory for modern France. Unlike other countries in Europe that are more accustomed to coalition governments, France doesn’t have a tradition of lawmakers from rival political camps coming together to form a majority. France is also more centralized than many other European countries, with many more decisions made in Paris.

The president was hoping that with France’s fate in their hands, voters might shift from the far right and left and return to mainstream parties closer to the center – where Macron found much of the support that won him the presidency in 2017 and again in 2022.

But rather than rally behind him, millions of voters seized on his surprise decision as an opportunity to vent their anger.

In last weekend’s first round of balloting, voters backed candidates from the National Rally, while the coalition of parties on the left took second and his centrist alliance was a distant third.

The sharp polarization of French politics – especially in this torrid and quick campaign – is sure to complicate any coalition-building effort. Racism and antisemitism marred the electoral campaign, along with Russian disinformation campaigns, and more than 50 candidates reported being physically attacked – highly unusual for France.

Source link