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Montevideo, July 25th 2024 - 15:18 UTC

 

 

Leftwing coalition keeps French nationalists from reaching power

Monday, July 8th 2024 - 08:31 UTC
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Mélenchon said Macron should summon him to form a new government although his coalition is far from a majority Mélenchon said Macron should summon him to form a new government although his coalition is far from a majority

A surprising result in Sunday's second round of France's snap elections averted the arrival of Marine Le Pen's rightwing Rassemblement National (RN) to government but left the country wondering about its nearest future under the leftwing alliance of socialists, leftists, communists and greens known as the New Popular Front (NFP) which was glued together in less than a week to avoid “the worst.” Turnout was historically high, reaching 67%.

 “It has been a great relief,” exclaimed Jean-Luc Mélenchon of La France Insoumise (LFI), who has emerged as the main leader of the winning force. The NFP is projected to have won between 172 and 192 seats in the National Assembly, ahead of Macron's Ensemble (between 150 and 170 deputies), and the RN (between 132 and 152). No official results were expected until Monday.

In the meantime, “we have avoided the worst,” according to French Socialist Party Chairman Olivier Faure. Now the goal is to implement the NFP's government plan, added. Mélenchon concurred but added that it meant setting in motion the NFP's “entire” roadmap.

In this scenario, Prime Minister Gabriel Attal, a known protegé of President Emmanuel Macron, has turned in his resignation but pledged to remain in office until a substitute is found. Negotiations are not expected to be easy, considering Macron's past rejecting coalition governments with NFP parties, particularly LFI.

In short, after two rounds of elections over the past two Sundays, France now heads for a third round of political decisions as negotiations for the appointment of a new head of government unfold with further alliances not to be ruled out as Macron has promised to remain as president.

“The will of the people must be strictly respected ... the president must invite the New Popular Front to govern,” insisted Mélenchon, who seeks to cap prices of essential goods like fuel and food, raise the minimum wage to a € 1,600 a month, hike wages for public sector workers and impose a wealth tax. However, the NFP's between 177 and 192 seats in the National Assembly are far short of the 289 needed for an absolute majority.

As per the French Constitution, Macron is not bound to summon the NFP to form a government, although that would be the next logical step facing the largest bloc in parliament. Still, Mélenchon ruled out a broader coalition with non-left parties.

After garnering the most votes last Sunday but being pushed back to third place, Le Pen said victory was simply “deferred” through the NFP agreement that quashed almost every opinion poll last week heralding an easy RN win.

Le Pen also said Sunday's ballot, which will almost double the current number of RN MPs, had sown the seeds for her 2027 presidential bid, while RN leader Jordan Bardella feared the leftwing coalition to be a “disgraceful alliance” that would paralyze France.

Categories: Politics, International.

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