Saturday , July 13 2024

No party secured a majority in France election


PARIS: A loose alliance of leftist parties has won the most seats in French legislative elections after a second round of voting.

While the coalition has managed to keep France’s far-right away from power in the elections, which ended on Sunday, no single political party or alliance of parties has won a clear majority.

Not exactly. To win an outright majority, a party or coalition needs to secure at least 289 of the National Assembly’s 577 seats.

Three alliances emerged on top after the vote count, but all of them fell short of a majority.

New Popular Front (NFP), a broad alliance of leftist and environmental parties, won the largest number of seats 188.

Ensemble, the centrist coalition led by French President Emmanuel Macron, came second with 161 seats.

National Rally (RN) and its allies, led by far-right leader Marine Le Pen, won 142 seats.

Since none of the three blocs has won an outright majority, France now has a hung parliament, and a coalition government will need to be formed between alliances or political parties.

Experts predicted that Macron’s Ensemble alliance of centrist parties will try to form a coalition with the Socialists and the Greens, the more moderate parties within the left-wing alliance, New Popular Front (NFP), rather than attempt any tie-up with Jean-Luc Melenchon’s far-left France Unbowed party.

The president has said he will not join forces with France Unbowed, which at times during the election campaign he portrayed as being as dangerous as the far right.

The primary bone of contention between the left bloc and Macron is his pension’s reform. In 2023, Macron raised the state pension age from 62 to 64. “The left vehemently opposed it. They might make this a condition to join the coalition, which Macron will refuse,” said Rainbow Murray, a politics professor at Queen Mary University of London and a specialist in French politics.

Alternatively, centrists could form a minority government by uniting moderates from the left and right and operate on compromise, Murray told media.

Prime Minister Gabriel Attal of Macron’s Renaissance party announced that he would step down. “Being prime minister was the honour of my life. This evening, the political group that I represent no longer has a majority, and tomorrow morning, I will submit my resignation to the president,” he said after the results became clear.

Attal will stay on in a caretaker role for a while because of the Paris Olympics, which kick off later this month.

The prime minister is appointed by the president. There is no particular timeline for Macron to appoint a new premier. “We might not see the nomination of a PM for a few days or a few weeks,” historian-turned-journalist Diane Vignemont, who is based in Paris, told media.

Macron is not obliged to appoint a prime minister from the party with the largest number of seats in parliament. He may technically appoint anyone he likes from any of the parties.

However, to forge a workable coalition government, Macron will most likely need to appoint a prime minister from the NFP, which won the most seats.

Melenchon has already called for the president to do this. “The will of the people must be strictly respected,” he said. “No ‘arrangement’ would be acceptable. The defeat of the president and his coalition is clearly confirmed. The president must accept his defeat.” (Int’l News Desk)

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