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LATEST: Shock French election results see leftist alliance lead with far-right in third

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LATEST: Shock French election results see leftist alliance lead with far-right in third
People gather in Paris as the results of the elections are announced. Photo by GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT / AFP

Results from the second round of France's hugely important snap parliamentary election on Sunday showed the leftist alliance taking a shock first place, defying predictions of a win for Marine Le Pen's far right.

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The final results, released on Monday morning by the Interior ministry show the NFP in the lead with 182 seats, followed by Macron's centrists on 168, the RN in third on 143 and the centre-right Les Républicains in fourth with 45 seats.

However no party or group got the 289 seats required for a majority in parliament.

Listen to the team at The Local France discuss the latest election results in a special episode of the Talking France podcast. Download here or listen on the link below

 

Macron called the snap elections after his forces were trounced in June's European parliament vote. After the results were announced Elysée sources told French media that was Macron had called for "prudence" and would only speak once the full results were in.

France's Prime Minister Gabriel Attal said he would offer his resignation to Macron on Monday.

But he added that, if his resignation is refused, he was ready to remain in office "as long as duty demands", with the Paris Olympics due to begin in three weeks.

The far-right Rassemblement National party had finished first after round one, and was widely predicted to also win round two. Some polls taken after the first round on June 30th predicted the RN could get as many as 260 seats in the French parliament.

However in the week between the rounds, hundreds of leftist or centrist candidates in three-person run-offs in the second round withdrew, in order not to split the anti-far right vote, referred to in France as the "republican front".

The shock result drew anger among leaders in far-right's Rassemblement National party.

Marine Le Pen said the results simply meant a victory for the far right had been delayed.

The far right’s Jordan Bardella, who up until this week had been touted as the likely next French prime minister denounced the "alliance of dishonour"  that deprived the Rassemblement National of a majority. He said the electoral agreements had "thrown France into the arms of (leftist) Jean-Luc Mélenchon".

Bardella welcomed the “unprecedented patriotic surge" that saw the RN on course for around 150 seats.

Rassemblement National MP Sébastien Chenu echoedthe frustration with the anti-far right vote saying France had been “plunged into a quagmire” because of “unnatural alliances”.

However there was jubilation among the leaders of the leftist Nouveau Front Populaire.

One of the main figureheads of the NFP, hard-left firebrand Jean-Luc Melenchon, said: “The president must bow down and admit this defeat. The Prime Minister must go. He never had the confidence of the National Assembly.

“The president has the duty to call on the Nouveau Front Populaire to govern,” he said to cheers among the crowd at Place Stalingrad, in the north east of Paris, which had erupted in joy when the shock results were announced at 8pm.

 

“Tonight, justice has won” said Marine Tondelier from France’s Green party, which forms part of the NFP. "We will govern," she added.

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Exactly who will govern remains a complicated question due to the lack of overall majority in the parliament - the usual process is that the president is forced into a 'cohabitation' with a prime minister of the largest group.

In this case things are further complicated because the leftist alliance is a fragile one which has so far been unable to agree on who is would nominate as prime minister - the group even put forward different candidates for each of the pre-election debates.

READ MORE: French far right blasts 'alliance of dishonour' as left celebrates shock win

Projections revealed that Melenchon's La France Insoumise party would win the biggest number of seats among the NFP but only slightly ahead of the Socialist Party. 

Head of the Socialist Party Olivier Faure said: “This vote is first of all the victory of the NFP which was able to unite the left, embody hope and impose a republican front against the danger of the extreme right.” 

“We will not lend ourselves to any coalition of opposites which would betray the vote of the French and prolong Macronist policies”.

Faure said the NFP manifesto was the only one to follow.

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The mood in France was tense ahead of a predicted victory for the far-right, with 30,000 police deployed to head off trouble and voters anxious about a potential electoral earthquake shifting the political landscape.

Explained: The main parties and big names in the French elections

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