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French Elections Copper: Leftist Coalition Tops Polls in Stunning Upset Over Far-Right

The French elections saw the left-wing New Popular Front (NFP) coalition emerging as the leading force, thwarting the far-right National Rally’s (RN) anticipated dominance. President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to call snap elections last month led to an unprecedented voter turnout of 67.1%, the highest in over 40 years, culminating in a dramatic reshaping of France’s political landscape.

The New Popular Front, a coalition formed just days after Macron’s snap election announcement, secured the most parliamentary seats. While the final count is expected early Monday, initial estimates place the NFP at 182 seats, short of the 289 needed for an absolute majority. Macron’s centrist Ensemble coalition followed with 163 seats, and the far-right National Rally, despite making historic gains, came in third with 143 seats.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of the far-left France Unbowed party and a prominent figure within the NFP, celebrated the results as a victory against the far-right. “Our people have clearly rejected the worst-case scenario,” he declared, addressing hundreds of supporters in northern Paris. “Tonight, the National Rally is far from having an absolute majority.”

In stark contrast, the mood at the RN’s electoral base in eastern Paris was one of shock and disappointment. Jordan Bardella, the 28-year-old protégé of Marine Le Pen and current party president, gave a somber speech acknowledging the party’s underwhelming performance. “Unfortunately, alliances of dishonor tonight have deprived the French people of a policy of recovery,” Bardella stated, reinforcing the RN’s commitment to continue its political struggle.

The results have significant implications for France’s future governance. Prime Minister Gabriel Attal announced his resignation shortly after the results, and Macron faces the pressure of appointing a new prime minister from the victorious leftist coalition. The National Assembly is set to gather in full session on July 18, a crucial step towards forming a new government.

The election outcome reflects a broader rejection of far-right politics, despite the RN achieving its highest number of parliamentary seats in history. Accusations of racism and antisemitism have marred the RN’s campaign, influencing voter sentiment. The NFP’s victory underscores a collective effort to prevent the far-right from gaining power, with many candidates from centrist and left-wing parties withdrawing to consolidate support against RN candidates.

President Macron’s decision to call the snap elections, aimed at clarifying the political situation, has instead led to a hung parliament, signaling turbulent times ahead. While the leftist coalition now holds the largest bloc in parliament, its internal diversity and potential for discord could pose challenges. The NFP comprises various parties, from the extreme left France Unbowed to the more moderate Socialists and Ecologists, each with differing priorities and policies.

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