What the Mood Is Like in France After Surprise Election Results

7/8/24
 
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from The New York Times,
7/8/24:

The final tally confirms that the left has the most seats in the National Assembly, with the far right third. Now, there’s a scramble to figure out a way forward.

Here are five takeaways from the election.
Big Surprise No. 1
The biggest was the triumph of the New Popular Front, a coalition of left-wing parties that is now the dominant force in a bloc of about 190 lawmakers and that has emerged as the lower house’s leading political group.

Big Surprise No. 2
The other shocker was the third-place finish of the National Rally and its allies, which had been expected to win the most seats, if not an absolute majority, in the 577-member National Assembly, the more powerful lower house.

Big Surprise No. 3. The ‘republican front’ may have worked.
It is still too early to say how voting patterns shifted between the two rounds of voting and how the New Popular Front pulled off its surprise victory. But strategies aimed at preventing the far right from winning by forming a “republican front” appear to have played a big role.

Big Surprise No. 4. Turnout soared
Official figures for the final-round turnout were not immediately available on Sunday night, but pollsters projected that it would be about 67 percent, far more than in 2022, when France last held legislative elections. That year, only about 46 percent of registered voters went to the polls for the second round.

The turnout on Sunday is the highest since 1997, reflecting intense interest in a race that had much higher stakes than usual.

Big Surprise No. 5. What’s next is unclear
With no party having an absolute majority, and the lower house of Parliament about to be filled by factions that detest one another, it is unclear just exactly how France is to be governed, and by whom.

Mr. Macron has to appoint a prime minister capable of forming a government that the National Assembly’s newly seated lawmakers won’t topple with a no-confidence vote.

There is no clear picture yet of who that might be, and none of the three main blocs — which also have their own internal disagreements — appear ready to work with the others.

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