Macron faces hung parliament after surprise left-wing victory in French elections

Following elections on Sunday that produced a hung parliament—a leftist coalition surprisingly capturing the top slot ahead of the extreme right—but no party securing a majority—France faced the possibility of entering a political impasse.

Marine Le Pen’s nationalist, eurosceptic National Rally (RN), which pollsters projected would win the second round of voting but ultimately placed third, suffered a significant defeat at the hands of voters.

Also hurt by the outcome was centrist French President Emmanuel Macron, who called the early election to reshape the political landscape following his ticket’s humiliation at the hands of the RN in last month’s European Parliament elections.

In the end, he created a severely divided parliament, which is likely to erode France’s standing in the EU and other international fora and make it difficult for anybody to advance domestic policies.

After the election, parliament will be split into three major parties: the extreme right, the left, and the centrists. These parties have very divergent programs and little history of cooperating.

The socialist New Popular Front (NFP) alliance declared its intention to take power right away. Its policies include capping the cost of necessities like food and gasoline, increasing the minimum salary to a net 1,600 euros ($1,732) per month, increasing salaries for public sector employees, and enacting a wealth tax.

“The people’s will must be adhered to rigorously… The New Popular Front must be invited by the president to rule, according to hard-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon.

Although the RN has attempted under Le Pen to overcome its longstanding reputation for racism and antisemitism, many in French society continue to be concerned about its France-first policy and growing popularity.

When the vote estimates were revealed at the left’s Paris conference, there were embraces, joyful yells, and tears of relief.

Crowds gathered in the center of Paris at Republique Square, where left-wing supporters were yelling “We’ve won! “, lighting flares, and playing drums. We’ve prevailed!

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