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French election leads to political confusion

Outcome of snap vote brings more questions than answers for Macron

By JULIAN SHEA in London | China Daily Global | Updated: 2024-07-11 09:24

Members and newly-elected lawmakers from the New Popular Front left-wing alliance in France pose for a group photo as they arrive at the National Assembly in Paris on Tuesday. SARAH MEYSSONNIER/REUTERS

France's President Emmanuel Macron may have seen the far-right National Rally party, or RN, relegated to third place in the country's national assembly election at the weekend, but he still faces a major headache over the makeup of the country's next government.

Macron's centrist coalition Ensemble finished second behind the hastily-concocted New Popular Front alliance of parties of the left, or NFP, with RN in third.

None of them won the 289 seats needed for an outright majority, so now a round of horse-trading is taking place as people look to build alliances.

Macron is safe in his role as president, but faces having to contend with a new parliament no more sympathetic to him than the one before he called the snap election.

Prime Minister Gabriel Attal has offered his resignation, but Macron has asked him to remain in office until the post-election fog clears.

Mathilde Panot, parliamentary leader of one of the NFP parties, the hard-left France Unbowed, said Macron should "bow to the choice of the ballot box" and let the NFP take over.

Communist Party leader Fabien Roussel told newspaper Midi Libre that the NFP bloc was "the most numerous, ready to sit and work with the program presented to the electorate … we are asking the President of the Republic to let us govern".

Roussell added that he could see this working if Ensemble assembly members "respect the choice of the voters who put us in the lead".

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