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15 July, 2024
 
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Macron's gamble averts far-right but leaves France in political instability

Coalition struggles and fractured parliament forecast uncertain future for French governance after surprise electoral outcome.

Source: CNN

In a surprising turn of events following French President Emmanuel Macron's call for snap elections, France's left-wing alliance has emerged victorious, securing 182 seats and pushing the far-right into third place. This outcome, a reversal from last Sunday’s first-round results, sparked celebrations in Paris as citizens expressed relief at averting a far-right government.

With the highest voter turnout in over two decades, the elections reflected a strong desire to prevent far-right governance. However, the left-wing alliance fell short of the 289 seats needed for a majority, leaving the national assembly deeply fragmented. This division is expected to lead to prolonged instability as three major blocs struggle to form coalitions or risk legislative paralysis.

Far-right National Rally (RN) leader Jordan Bardella attributed his party’s defeat to tactical voting by Macron and the left-wing coalition, which withdrew 200 candidates to block the far right. Despite this setback, RN still made gains, continuing a trend of increasing support in recent elections.

The left-wing alliance faces challenges in maintaining unity. Comprising five diverse parties, including the far-left France Unbowed and the center-left socialists and greens, the alliance must now agree on leadership and policy direction. Past efforts at unity have faltered due to personal and policy differences.

Internationally, the divided parliament will likely hinder major reforms and complicate France’s role in global issues like the Ukraine conflict. Macron has supported military aid to Ukraine, while Le Pen's RN opposes using French weapons against Russia and sending French troops. The left-wing alliance has been less vocal, with varying stances among its members.

Macron’s central bloc secured 163 seats, a better result than expected despite losing about 100 MPs. This shift indicates a power move from the presidency to the National Assembly. Although Macron’s strategy prevented a far-right victory, it has also led to political uncertainty, with France facing a challenging year ahead as it prepares to host the Olympics.

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