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What The French Election Result Means And How A New Government Can Be Formed

France’s election result looks set to produce a hung parliament, with a leftist alliance in the lead but without an absolute majority.

Below, we look at what happened in the election and what it means for the weeks and months ahead.


The left-wing New Popular Front (NPF) alliance secured the biggest number of seats but will fall short of the 289 needed to secure an outright majority in the lower house.

As it happened: France elections latest

This result was a major blow to the far-right National Rally (RN) party, which had been projected to win the vote but suffered after the NFP and President Emmanuel Macron’s Together bloc worked together between the first and second rounds of voting to create an anti-RN vote.

This result means none of the three blocs can form a majority government and would need support from others to pass legislation.

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Fireworks light up Paris as crowds celebrate WILL A LEFT-LEANING COALITION FORM?

This is far from certain.

France is not used to the kind of post-election coalition-building that is common in northern European parliamentary democracies like Germany or the Netherlands.

Its Fifth Republic was designed in 1958 by war hero Charles de Gaulle to give large, stable parliamentary majorities to presidents and that has created a confrontational political culture with no tradition of consensus and compromises.

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Jean-Luc Melenchon, leader of the hard-left France Unbowed (LFI), ruled out a broad coalition of parties of different stripes. He said Mr Macron had a duty to call on the leftist alliance to rule.

In the centrist camp, Mr Macron’s party head, Stephane Sejourne, said he was ready to work with mainstream parties but ruled out any deal with Melenchon’s LFI.

Former prime minister Edouard Philippe also ruled out any deal with the hard-left party. Mr Macron himself said he will wait for the new assembly to have found some “structure” to decide his next move.

Image: Jean-Luc Melenchon, founder of the far-left party La France Insoumise (France Unbowed), speaks on Sunday night. Pic: AP WHO IS IN THE NEW POPULAR FRONT ALLIANCE?

The New Popular Front is made up of Socialists, Ecologists, Communists and France Unbowed.

They have previously criticised each other and have a number of key differences in ideology and approach. But they decided to form a bloc to keep the far right out of government.

The NPF has promised to scrap the pension and immigration reforms passed by the current government, to set up a rescue agency for undocumented migrants and to facilitate visa applications.

It also wants to raise the minimum wage.

Image: Gabriel Attal. Pic: Reuters WHAT IF NO AGREEMENT CAN BE FOUND?

That would be uncharted territory for France. The constitution says Mr Macron cannot call new parliamentary elections for another 12 months.

Prime Minister Gabriel Attal said he would tender his resignation on Monday morning, but that he was available to act in a caretaker capacity.

The constitution says Mr Macron decides who to ask to form a government. But whoever he picks faces a confidence vote in the National Assembly, which will convene for 15 days on 18 July.

This means he needs to name someone acceptable to a majority of lawmakers.

Mr Macron will likely be hoping to peel off Socialists and Greens from the leftist alliance, isolating France Unbowed, to form a centre-left coalition with his own bloc. However, there is no sign of an imminent break-up of the New Popular Front.

Another possibility is a government of technocrats that would manage day-to-day affairs but not oversee structural changes.