France's left-wing alliance blocks a far-right majority, projection shows

  • President Emmanuel Macron took a huge bet by calling for a surprise election in France.

  • Macron risked losing what little power he had in the National Assembly to France’s far-right bloc.

  • Voters rebuked the far-right party on Sunday, but now no political party holds a majority.

French voters are projected to rebuke the country’s far-right, anti-immigration National Rally party, but no clear majority emerged on Sunday, leaving President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist alliance further weakened and France on a path towards political gridlock.

Macron took a huge bet in June by calling for a surprise snap legislative election soon after the National Rally, France’s far-right bloc led by Marine Le Pen, trounced the president’s centrist Renaissance party in the European Parliament elections with more than twice the amount of votes for his coalition.

The results pushed Macron’s hand to dissolve the National Assembly — France’s lower house that holds more prominence in the Parliament due to its ability to pass laws — and make a huge gamble by calling for an early election.

By doing so, Macron hoped the voters would establish a stronger mandate in the lower house and strengthen his influence on the world stage. The president, whose popularity in France was already declining, lost a majority in the National Assembly in 2022, leaving his coalition to push laws without a vote in the lower house using a controversial but legal constitutional tool.

The New York Times reported that Macron, without a majority in the lower house and relegated to political maneuvering, said his decision was inevitable.

But the gamble backfired.

On June 30, the National Rally Party again dealt a huge blow to Macron’s Renaissance party and its allies by securing 33% of votes in the first round of voting, which saw a high turnout.

The New Popular Front, a left-wing coalition formed for the snap election, secured 28% of the votes.

Macron’s centrist coalition only received 20%.

For a brief moment, France appeared to be looking at the first far-right government to emerge since the Nazi occupation, according to The Associated Press.

However, on Sunday’s second round of voting, the Times reported that a boost in support for the leftist New Popular Front was projected in near-final results to give it the most seats in the 577-member lower house but not a majority, citing France’s polling institutes.

The leftist alliance is projected to secure between 177 seats, according to The Times.

Macron’s centrist coalition, the Ensemble, which includes the Renaissance party, came in second with a projected 148 seats, while the far-right National Rally came in third with 142 seats.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of the left-wing alliance, called the results an “immense relief for a majority of people in our country,” the AP reported.

Though the results have soothed leftists’ and centrists’ immediate concerns about a far-right government, France may be headed for political deadlock with no clear majority established in the National Assembly.

Final results are expected to come in late Sunday or Monday.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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