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Left and centrists claim victory in French election

  • July 9, 2024
  • 2 min read
Left and centrists claim victory in French election

In what has surprised many, the far-right party of Marine Le Pen and her “young prime minster-in-waiting” Jordan Bardella who appeared set for victory have fallen short in the second round of voting. Instead, the left, along with Emmanuel Macron’s centrists have staged a surprise comeback, pushing the far-right National Rally (RN) down to third place.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, a veteran left-wing “firebrand” is seen by hi critics as something of an extremist. But he wasted no time in proclaiming victory.  “The president must call on the New Popular Front to govern,” he told supporters in Stalingrad square, adding that President Macron had to recognise that he and his coalition had lost.

His alliance was drawn up in a hurry for the president’s shock election. It includes his own radical France Unbowed alongside the Green, Socialists, and Communists as well as Trotskyists. But this win is nowhere near enough for them to govern, leaving France with a hung parliament. None of the three blocks are able to form an outright majority on their own, neading 289 seats out of  the 577 seats in parliament.

As soon as he spoke, Mélenchon travelled to the larger square, Place de la République, to celebrate hi success with a crowd of 8,000 people, police numbers reported. Just a week ago, there was talk of RN winning a possible absolute majority with Le Pen and Bardella still talking up their own chances just before the vote. However, all over France, RN was losing the run-offs it would need to win.  

The election saw a 66.63% turnout, the highest in parliamentary second round since 1997.

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