French Left-Wing Alliance Leads in Parliamentary Elections, Creating Political Uncertainty

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A loose coalition of French left-wing parties, hastily formed for snap elections, appears poised to emerge as the largest parliamentary bloc, surpassing both the far right and President Emmanuel Macron’s coalition, according to exit polls.

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No single group secured an absolute majority in Sunday’s runoff vote, leaving France in a state of political flux with no clear path to forming a new government, just days before a major NATO summit and weeks ahead of the Paris Olympics.

Prime Minister Gabriel Attal announced plans to tender his resignation to Macron on Monday but expressed readiness to continue serving “as long as duty demands,” especially with the impending Games.

The New Popular Front (NFP), assembled last month in response to Macron’s call for early elections, united previously divided factions including the Socialists, Greens, Communists, and the hard-left France Unbowed into a single electoral force.

Exit polls suggest the left-wing coalition could secure between 172 to 215 seats, while Macron’s alliance is expected to garner 150 to 180 seats. In a surprise twist, Marine Le Pen’s National Rally (NR), which aimed for an outright majority, trails behind with projections ranging from 115 to 155 seats.

Although Le Pen’s NR made significant gains, it fell short of a decisive victory that would have rebuffed Macron’s call for early elections aimed at averting extremism’s rise in France.

Jean-Luc Melenchon, leader of the hard-left France Unbowed and a prominent figure in the NFP coalition, asserted the left’s right to form a government: “The united left has risen to the occasion and thwarted attempts to trap the nation. Once again, it has safeguarded the Republic.”

Projections indicate that no party is set to achieve an absolute majority, with the left-leaning NFP edging ahead of both Macron’s centrist Ensemble and Le Pen’s Eurosceptic RN, according to polling agencies.

Macron, yet to publicly comment on the projections, urged caution and thorough analysis of the results, according to an aide speaking to AFP.

Le Pen, undeterred by the outcome, declared, “The tide continues to rise. Our victory may be delayed, but it is inevitable.”

Al Jazeera correspondent Natacha Butler reported surprise and disappointment among Le Pen’s supporters at RN headquarters, noting that despite high turnout, the outcome signaled a setback for Le Pen’s presidential ambitions.

The abbreviated election campaign, marred by threats and incidents of violence including racist attacks on candidates and canvassers, prompted a massive police presence to maintain order amid concerns of potential unrest post-election.

Despite the challenges, voter turnout was robust, with left-wing and centrist supporters rallying to defend democratic values against the backdrop of rising far-right aspirations.

Analysts like Rim-Sarah Alouane highlighted relief that France avoided a more extreme outcome, underscoring lingering concerns over the nation’s political landscape.

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