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French elections: Macron loses absolute majority after historic gains for far right and left

Macron’s centrist alliance set! came out on top in Sunday’s second round of legislative elections, winning 245 votes out of a total of 577, according to final results released by the French interior ministry, more than any other political party.

However, he has still not reached the 289-seat threshold for an absolute majority in the National Assembly, France’s lower house.

The left-wing coalition Nouvelle Union Populaire Ecologique et Sociale (NUPES), a pan-left coalition led by far-left figure Jean-Luc Mélenchon, came second with 131 seats, according to Interior Ministry results. .

This would make NUPES the main opposition force in the country, although the coalition is expected to be split on some issues once in parliament.

“The collapse of the presidential party is total, and no majority is presented,” Mélenchon said earlier in the evening, commenting on the preliminary results.

“We have achieved the political goal we set ourselves, in less than a month, to bring down the man who so arrogantly twisted the arm of the whole country, who was elected without knowing why. “

At the other end of the political spectrum, Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally party won a record 89 seats, putting it in third place.

“This group will be by far the most important in our political history,” said Le Pen, who was also re-elected MP.

Pen and Mélenchon’s performances are the latest indication that Macron is presiding over a deeply divided country – where the French public is turning to the far right and left to express their dissatisfaction with the status quo.

“An unprecedented situation”

Macron, who won a second term in presidential elections in April, will now become the first sitting French president not to win a parliamentary majority since an electoral reform in 2000.

He is now entering uncharted territory of negotiation and compromise, after five years of unchallenged control, where his coalition is expected to attempt to forge alliances with other political parties, including reaching out to the traditional right, which came in fourth on Sunday. .

France could be thrown into political paralysis if he fails to make alliances. But it could also mean that Macron will struggle to push through his legislative agenda, including an unpopular plan to raise the retirement age, as well as deeper European Union integration.

French legislative elections clouded by low turnout

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire called the result a “democratic shock”, reports Reuters, adding that if the other blocs did not cooperate, it would “block our ability to reform and protect the French people”.

“This is an unprecedented situation,” French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said, referring to the new “configuration” of power between rival parties resulting from the vote. “Never had the National Assembly experienced such a configuration under the Fifth Republic.”

“As of tomorrow, we will work to build an action-oriented majority, there is no alternative to this coalition to guarantee the stability of our country and put in place the necessary reforms”, he said. she declared.

As in the first round of the election at the beginning of June, Sunday’s poll was marked by low voter turnout, with abstention above 53%.

The results are a notable departure from the broad mandate given to Macron in the last election in 2017. His top-down style of government, which Macron described as a “Jupetarian” presidency – a Roman god of gods – will now have to descend to earth and learn the art of consensus building.

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