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President Emmanuel Macron's centrist alliance is on track to lose its absolute majority in Parliament this Sunday in the face of the massive progress of the left-wing front and a rise of the extreme right in the legislative elections.
Macron's Together! alliance would win between 200 and 260 seats, followed by the New Popular Ecological and Social Union (Nupes, left) between 150 and 200 and the National Rally (far right), from 60 to 100, according to initial projections.
"If these results are confirmed, they are very far from what we expected (...) An unprecedented situation in political and parliamentary life is emerging, which will require us to overcome our certainties, our divisions," said Minister Gabriel Attal. Although negotiation is usual in most democracies, in the absence of an absolute majority in Parliament, the legislature may become a headache for the ruling party to carry out its liberal program.
In order to reach the 289 seats, the Republican party (right-wing) and its allies UDI (45 to 80 seats) could become essential for the centrist president. Its leaders have already advanced in the last days that they will make a "useful opposition." The left-wing raised the elections as a "third round" of the presidential election, considering that the French re-elected Macron on April 24 to prevent the coming to power of his ultra-right rival, Marine Le Pen, and not because of his ideas.
Although the president lost his absolute majority, the first left-wing front in 25 years -- radical left, ecologists, communists and socialists seemed to become the official opposition. Deputy Clémentine Autin hailed on France 2 television an "incredible breakthrough" and a "validation of the strategy carried out by Jean-Luc Mélenchon, a gathering of forces of social and ecological transformation."
Vote France, Macron loses the absolute majority in Parliament: Mélenchon’s left is the first opposition group. Boom for Le Pen: 89 seats https://t.co/KNeKKgAHBt
Le Pen's ultra-right-wing party would also be able to manage to form its own parliamentary group for the first time since 1986, thus gaining weight.
"It's a navy blue wave across the country. The lesson of tonight is that the French people turned Emmanuel Macron into a minority president," Jordan Bardella, its interim leader, who called it a "tsumani", congratulated himself on TF1 television. Turnout was key in the second round, but, according to projections, again more than half of the 48.7 million French called to the polls did not turn out to vote.
- Ministers defeated -
The vote closes a crucial election cycle for the course of France for the next five years. The next electoral appointment will be the elections to the European Parliament in 2024, two years in which the parties will be able to settle the ongoing recomposition.
The irruption of the centrist neoliberal Macron in 2017 shook the French political chessboard, which is now divided into three main blocs -- radical left, center and extreme right -- leaving aside the traditional governing parties.
After the debacle in the presidential election, the Socialist Party (PS) decided to join the front led by Mélenchon, despite the dissatisfaction of its former leaders, and The Republicans, weakened, hope to be key to weave majorities with Macron.
In the final stretch of the campaign, Macron's alliance warned of the chaos of having to govern with a simple majority and, above all, of the "danger" that the arrival of the leftist front to power would represent.
On his return from a trip to Ukraine, Macron advocated for a "truly European France", after accusing his Nupes opponents of wanting to leave the European Union (EU) --something they deny--, and called for a "solid majority".
The French had to vote for the candidate of their constituency --577 in total--, in a uninominal two-round system. In the first round, one deputy from Together! and 4 from Nupes already won their seats.
For the members of the French government running for a seat, among them Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne, the elections represent a double challenge, because they will have to resign if they lose, according to an unwritten rule.
This is the case of the Secretary of State for the Sea, Justine Benin, who was defeated on the island of Guadeloupe, as well as the Minister of Health, Brigitte Bourguignon, in the north of France