French election: Leftists win big, far right places third

The left-wing New Popular Front (NFP) landed a surprise win over the far-right National Rally (RN) in the second round of the 2024 French legislative election. No alliance, however, managed to land an absolute majority.
Leftist leader Jean-Luc Melenchon
Leftist leader Jean-Luc Melenchon
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The leftist New Popular Front (NFP) grabbed the top spot in the second round of the French legislative election on Sunday in a major upset over the far-right, according to projections.

The New Popular Front (NFP) was expected to have 172-215 seats, whereas French President Emmanuel Macron's centrist Ensemble alliance was in second with 150 to 180 MPs. 

Marine Le Pen's far-right National Rally unexpectedly landed in third place with 120 to 152 seats. 

French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal, a Macron ally, said he will offer his resignation after the vote. 

What do the results mean? 

None of the parties had received enough seats for an absolute majority in parliament, meaning the chamber will be cut up in different political groups with vastly different stances on the issues and little history of cooperation. 

A hung parliament could throw French politics into chaos with weeks of deliberation to determine who will serve as prime minister. Macron, who is extremely unpopular, may have to lead the country alongside a prime minister who opposes his centrist policies. 

The final results of the second round are not expected until late Sunday or early Monday. 

What did the French political leaders say after projections?

Jean-Luc Melenchon, whose France Unbowed party belongs to the NFP, called the results an "immense relief for a majority of people in our country."

Olivier Faure, of the Socialist Party which is in the NFP alliance, said "we have to restore the country on a clear basis and the New Popular Front must take the lead in this new chapter of our history." Faure said there should be no "coalition of opposites" which build on Macron's policies. 

Jordan Bardella, the president of the far-right RN, had originally hoped to be the clear choice for prime minister. Due to the party's disappointing result in the election, he claimed that "France is being thrown in to the hands of the far left" and condemned an "alliance of dishonor."        

Bardella accused Macron of "pushing France into uncertainty and instability." Le Pen said "our victory only has been delayed."

President Emmanuel Macron's office , meanwhile, said he will "wait" before taking steps on a new government. 

Macron originally called for the snap legislative elections in France after the far-right surged in the European parliamentary elections in June. 

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