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French Elections Exit Polls: Shock Results Favor Left-Wing Coalition

In a surprising turn of events, France’s far-right National Rally party has fallen short in the latest parliamentary elections, according to exit poll results. The left-wing New Popular Front coalition is now projected to take the lead, marking a significant shift in the French political landscape. The election, which saw an unexpected snap call by President Emmanuel Macron, has left the country facing a period of political uncertainty and intense negotiations.

The 2024 French parliamentary elections have delivered an unexpected outcome. According to exit polls conducted by Ipsos, the New Popular Front (NFP) coalition, a left-wing alliance, is predicted to secure between 177 and 193 seats. This projection places the NFP in the lead, ahead of President Macron’s Ensemble group, which is expected to take between 152 and 158 seats. Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally (RN), which was initially leading after the first round of voting on June 30, is now projected to secure between 136 and 144 seats.

President Emmanuel Macron, who surprised even his allies by calling for the snap election, faces a challenging task ahead. The failure of the National Rally to secure the expected majority has been attributed to various factors, including the strategic withdrawal of over 200 candidates from both the Ensemble alliance and the NFP in a move to prevent a three-way battle. This “republican front” strategy aimed to block the far-right’s advance.

Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella, leaders of the National Rally, have criticized the leftist alliances, accusing them of unfairly targeting and misrepresenting their party. However, Ipsos pollster Brice Teinturier pointed out the National Rally’s internal issues, including revelations of xenophobic views among its candidates, which may have contributed to their setback.

The election results have plunged France into a period of political and legislative uncertainty. With no party securing an outright majority, President Macron must navigate a complex political landscape to form a government. Possible scenarios include forming a centre-left coalition by attempting to attract Socialists and Greens from the leftist alliance, or establishing a technocratic government to manage day-to-day affairs.

Outgoing Prime Minister Gabriel Attal, despite indicating his intention to resign, has signaled he will stay in his post during the upcoming Paris Olympics, reflecting the urgency of maintaining government stability amid the ongoing political negotiations.

The election outcome has drawn reactions from international leaders. Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez hailed the results as a rejection of the extreme right, paralleling recent political developments in Spain and the UK. Former US presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders also congratulated the French left for their success against right-wing extremism.

The election results have also impacted the financial markets, with the euro experiencing volatility. Analysts expressed relief that the far-right National Rally did not secure a majority, although concerns remain about the economic policies of the left-wing coalition. Nordea chief market analyst Jan von Gerich highlighted potential challenges for French public finances under a left-leaning government.

As the final results are confirmed, France faces weeks of intense political negotiations. The left-wing New Popular Front is expected to celebrate their unexpected victory, while the far-right National Rally reflects on its performance. Meanwhile, President Macron and his Ensemble coalition will work to build a coalition and navigate the complexities of a hung parliament.

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