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TOPSHOT - France's President Emmanuel Macron exits a polling booth, adorned with curtains
MOHAMMED BADRA / Images

The socialist-communist New Popular Front alliance has come out on top in the final round of snap legislative elections called by French President Emmanuel Macron, who sided with the far-left to thwart Marine Le Pen’s populist party.

According to the initial Ipsos exit poll, the New Popular Front, led by Jean-Luc Mélenchon — often dubbed France’s Bernie Sanders — will win between 172 and 192 seats, the most of any parliamentary group. The far-left did not secure enough votes for an absolute majority of 289.

Meanwhile, President Macron’s coalition is projected to win between 150 and 170 seats, meaning that he will likely have to pair with the far left to continue governing the country.

In a disappointing result, Marine Le Pen’s National Rally (RN), which won the first round of voting last week, was relegated to third place, with between 132 to 152 seats. Finally, the centre-right Les Républicains are projected to have won between 57 to 67 seats, Le Figaro reports.

The results confirm the ability of the French establishment to use the antiquated parliamentary system created in the 1950s to limit the power of outsiders amid deep political strife verging on civil war.

While the populist right-wing party would have become the largest party if last week’s results were final, the second round of voting gave the government and political establishment the ability to rally their supporters, sparking the highest turnout in decades to thwart the Le Pen party. Macron’s faction reportedly made deals in some 200 constituencies with the far-left to undermine the populist party’s ability to gain a majority.

Responding to the disappointing results, RN leader Jordan Bardella thanked his supporters but lamented that the “alliance of dishonour” between Macron and the New Popular Front will “throw France into the arms of the far left of Jean-Luc Mélenchon”.

Many across Europe had questioned why Macron — one of the leading globalist figures in the EU — would risk calling for a snap election in which he risked dooming himself to lame-duck status for the next three years. Macron, like many neo-liberal globalists suffered heavy losses in the EU parliament elections last month and therefore apparently was seeking to re-establish the legitimacy of his rule.

The former Rothschild banker was seemingly banking on his ability to rally the country around the fear of a populist takeover, as he has successfully done throughout his political career.

However, the first round of the elections last week showed that he had lost the centre ground, with his coalition only managing to hang on to 21 per cent of the vote, compared to 33.2 per cent for Marine Le Pen and her conservative allies. Macron’s bloc also fell below the hastily cobbled together New Popular Front far-left coalition of communists and socialists led by radical Jean-Luc Mélenchon, which secured 28.2 per cent of the vote.

Facing the prospect of an RN majority, Macron made the controversial move to form an election alliance with the New Popular Front, despite warning just days earlier that voting for the National Rally or extreme left would lead to “civil war” in France.

The hyperbolic rhetoric from the government was continued by Macron’s deputy, Prime Minister Gabriel Attal, who said this week: “I think a majority dominated by the extreme right and the RN would be dangerous”.

“There would be a lot of violence in society if the RN program were to be implemented… It would also be a disaster for our economy”, he added.

However, despite the warnings from Macron’s globalists about the so-called “far-right” — a term which Le Pen rejects given her largely left-wing economic platform — it has been Macron’s now far-left partners who have been behind major violent uprisings over the past year, including riots last week following the National Rally’s victory in the first round of voting.

Indeed, even before the initial results were announced, shop owners along the Champs-Élysées began to barricade their storefronts in the expectation of further leftist riots in the capital. A total of 30,000 police officers, including 5,000 in Paris, have been mobilised in preparation for potential leftist violence on Sunday evening.

 

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