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France election sees leftist coalition lead — as it happened

Published July 7, 2024last updated July 8, 2024

Broadcaster TF1 gave the most seats to the left-wing NFP with President Macron's centrists second, in the 2024 French legislative election. Marine Le Pen's RN was not able to capitalize on its strong first round.

Jean-Luc Melenchon, center, delivers a speech while Daniel Obono, second right, gestures, after the second round of the legislative elections
Jean-Luc Melenchon said his alliance must provide France's next prime minister Image: Thomas Padilla/AP Photo/picture alliance
Skip next section What you need to know

What you need to know

  • Polls have closed in France
  • Early exit polls predict the left-wing New Popular Front bloc to win 188-199 seats 
  • President Macron's Ensemble bloc is next with a projected 164-169 seats
  • Marine Le Pen's RN meanwhile was predicted to be on course for 135-143 seats
  • No party or bloc has a majority in the 577-seat chamber
  • French leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon said shortly after the projections that his alliance must provide a new prime minister 
Skip next section French voters deliver a victory to the left and a blow to Le Pen
July 8, 2024

French voters deliver a victory to the left and a blow to Le Pen

France faced the possibility of a hung parliament after Sunday's election, in which a left-wing alliance unexpectedly came out on top but no group won an outright majority.

Voters dealt a major setback to Marine Le Pen's nationalist, euroskeptic National Rally (RN). Polls had predicted the RN would win the second round, but it came in third.

The result was also another blow to centrist President Emmanuel Macron, who called for snap elections to clear up his political situation after his party was trounced in last month's European Parliament elections.

The election will leave the parliament divided into three main groups  left, center and far right  with very different platforms and no tradition of working together.

This post concludes our live blog but you can still check out our comprehensive review of the day's events in France in this article: Leftists win big, far right places third.

Skip next section Spanish PM Sanchez welcomes France's 'rejection of far right'
July 8, 2024

Spanish PM Sanchez welcomes France's 'rejection of far right'

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has hailed France's "rejection of the far right" after a left-wing coalition was projected to form the largest group in the French parliament.

"This week, two of the largest countries in Europe have chosen the same path that Spain chose a year ago: rejection of the extreme right and a decisive commitment to a social left that addresses people's problems with serious and brave policies," Sanchez posted on X. "The United Kingdom and France have said YES to progress and social advancement and NO to the regression in rights and freedoms. There is no agreement or government with the extreme right."

Skip next section Le Pen seeks to focus on gains, says 'doubling' number of seats
July 7, 2024

Le Pen seeks to focus on gains, says 'doubling' number of seats

RN leader Marine Le Pen sought to focus on the positives for her party after seemingly failing to convert a first-round lead in the popular vote. 

Asked on TF1 television if she was disappointed, Le Pen said: "Not forcibly disappointed, no, because I'm too experienced to be disappointed on an election evening where we doubled our number of seats." 

She argued this was particularly impressive given the very broad alliance her party had to compete against, going all the way from Macron's pro-business centrists to the French Communist Party and Melenchon's La France Insoumise. 

She also argued that the press had "clearly taken a side" in the campaign. 

Le Pen said she believed the vote had shown that her party was the "first" in France, noting that it would also have more seats, at least as currently projected, than any other individual party in the country.

Skip next section Scholz ally says 'the worst has been avoided' in 2nd round
July 7, 2024

Scholz ally says 'the worst has been avoided' in 2nd round

The foreign policy spokesman of Chancellor Olaf Scholz's Social Democrats voiced cautious optimism in comments to German newspapers that will be printed on Monday. 

"The worst has been avoided," Nils Schmid told the newspapers in the Funke Media Group. 

He said that now what would be decisive was the flexibility and willingness to compromise among democratic parties in France. 

A German MEP with the Green Party, Anna Cavazzini, meanwhile congratulated France's Green Party — a member of the NFP alliance — on the result. 

"Even if the future of the French government will not be easy, this is still first and foremost really good news," Cavazzini said. 

There was no immediate response from senior German government members late on Sunday night. 

Skip next section Former President Francois Hollande wins seat
July 7, 2024

Former President Francois Hollande wins seat

Former French President Francois Hollande is set to be one of the new members of the National Assembly as part of the NFP alliance. 

Emmanuel Macron's predecessor remains a member of the center-left Parti Socialiste (PS), one of the more moderate members of NFP. 

"I will not be a typical member of parliament, that is clear," Hollande admitted, given his background.

The 70-year-old was competing for the Correze seat to the east of Bordeaux, and told the AFP news agency his decision to return was rooted in the "exceptional situation" created when Emmanuel Macron called the snap elections. 

He claimed a projected 43.1% of the vote in the runoff, compared to 31.4% for the RN candidate Maitey Pouget, and roughly 25% for center-right candidate Francois Dubois. 

Incumbent Dubois was one of the candidates to refuse to withdraw from a second round of voting despite having finished third in the first round. In many constituencies, third-placed candidates pulled out so as not to split the more left-wing vote against RN.

Skip next section Updated seat projections, party order unchanged
July 7, 2024

Updated seat projections, party order unchanged

As the counting continues, projections are starting to narrow slightly, in what could still be a night with a few surprises in store, given the variations across broadcasters in France.

Focusing mainly on the polling done by the IFOP company on behalf of national broadcaster TF1, the left-wing NFP are on 188-199 seats, Macron's Ensemble on 164-169 seats, the far-right National Rally (RN) on 135-143 seats, while the center-right Les Republicains are projected to win 63 seats. 

The broadcaster's update is from around two hours after the polls closed. It still has the same running order as previous polls, but some smaller margins of expected error.

Skip next section PM Gabriel Attal says he will offer resignation on Monday
July 7, 2024

PM Gabriel Attal says he will offer resignation on Monday

Prime Minster Gabriel Attal said he would offer President Emmanuel Macron his resignation on Monday, with his party on course to finish second, according to exit polls. 

Nobody is set to claim a majority in the National Assembly, based on the projections, but the left-wing NFP will be the largest party. Its leader Jean-Luc Melenchon has said the alliance must lead the next government. 

However, Attal also said that if his resignation was refused, he was ready to remain in office "as long as duty demands," with the Paris Olympics due to begin in three weeks.

Establishing a functional government may prove complex, particularly if the NFP is unwilling to collaborate with Macron as Melenchon has implied. That could lead to a weak minority government with opposing positions to the executive branch.

French PM Attal plans to submit his resignation

Skip next section Polish PM Tusk: 'In Paris enthusiasm, in Moscow disappointment, in Kyiv relief'
July 7, 2024

Polish PM Tusk: 'In Paris enthusiasm, in Moscow disappointment, in Kyiv relief'

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk focused on the foreign policy implications of a possible far-right win in France, after Marine Le Pen said during the campaign that she would not endorse French weaponry being used against targets in Russia. 

"In Paris enthusiasm, in Moscow disappointment, in Kyiv relief," Tusk wrote. "Enough to be happy in Warsaw." 

However, the strong showing for the NFP and Jean-Luc Melenchon may also have some implications for the war in Ukraine. 

For years, Melenchon advocated France's immediate withdrawal from NATO. He has recently softened this stance to instead argue that the country should eventually withdraw from the military alliance. 

Skip next section RN's Jordan Bardella blames Macron for 'pushing France into uncertainty and instability'
July 7, 2024

RN's Jordan Bardella blames Macron for 'pushing France into uncertainty and instability'

The far-right's candidate for prime minister, 28-year-old Jordan Bardella, has criticized Macron and the NFP for "pushing France into uncertainty and instability."

He blamed the centrist and far-left coordination describing it as an "alliance of dishonor," saying it would "deprive France of the politics of recovery."

"Unfortunately, the alliance of dishonor and the electoral arrangements reached by Emmanuel Macron and [Prime Minister] Gabriel Attal with the extreme left" had deprived France of an RN-led government, he said. 

Bardella said the agreement had "thrown France into the arms of [Jean-Luc] Melenchon." 

Bardella, currently a member of the European Parliament, said he saw the results as a defining moment in French politics.

"This evening, an old world has fallen, and nothing can stop a people who have started to hope again," he said.

Skip next section 'Immense relief,' says Leftist leader Jean-Luc Melenchon
July 7, 2024

'Immense relief,' says Leftist leader Jean-Luc Melenchon

Jean-Luc Melenchon gave a speech soon after polls closed, calling the results an "immense relief for a majority of people in our country."

Melenchon is the most prominent member of the broad left-wing NFP alliance, which coordinated with Emmanuel Macron's centrist Ensemble bloc to maximize their chances of combined victory in the second round vote against the far right. 

"The president must admit this defeat without trying to circumvent it," Melenchon said. "The prime minister must go. He never received the confidence of the National Assembly and received a massive vote of no confidence from the public." 

He said he was not willing to enter into negotiations with Macron or his allies about a potential alliance. "We refuse to enter into negotiations with his party to make combinations, especially after having relentlessly beaten his policy of social mistreatment for seven years," the veteran leftist said. 

"The ballot boxes have decided. The NFP is ready to govern. Its components, the united left, have risen to the circumstances and have foiled the trap set for the country. Once again, it has saved the Republic," Melenchon said. 

Skip next section First exit polls: Left-wing NFP on top, RN drops to 3rd place
July 7, 2024

First exit polls: Left-wing NFP on top, RN drops to 3rd place

The first exit polls are being published, with major broadcaster TF1 predicting that the left-wing NFP will win the most seats, but still around 100 short of a majority. 

It predicts between 180 and 215 seats for Jean-Luc Melenchon's alliance. 

President Emmanuel Macron's Ensemble alliance looks set for 150 to 180 seats, TF1 predicts. 

And Marine Le Pen's RN, despite its first round supremacy, again looks set to fall foul of France's two-round voting system. It's on course for between 120 and 150 seats, according to the early projections. 

Meanwhile, the center-right party Les Republicains was on course for 60-65 seats.

These figures could all still be subject to change, but typically it is rare for exit polls to be drastically mistaken. 


Skip next section Polls close in France, first projections to follow shortly
July 7, 2024

Polls close in France, first projections to follow shortly

That's it, it's 8 p.m. in France, which means all polling stations should either have closed or be in the process of closing after letting the last people in line cast their votes. 

The first projections from French broadcasters should follow shortly. 

Skip next section Shops boarded up in parts of Paris, protests anticipated
July 7, 2024

Shops boarded up in parts of Paris, protests anticipated

Shops on central Parisian streets like the Champs Elysees began boarding up their facades ahead of the results. 

Some retailers in the more upmarket streets of central Paris had kept barricades up all week between the two rounds of voting, fearing potential protests or vandalism in the aftermath of the results following a fractious snap election campaign. 

A McDonalds on the rue de Rivoli in Paris with its front windows and door boarded up completely. Image taken on July 4, 2024, between the two rounds of voting.
Some outlets on the upmarket rue de Rivoli in Paris kept their facades boarded up all week between the votesImage: Auguste Canier/PHOTOPQR/LE PARISIEN/picture alliance

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said authorities recorded more than 50 physical assaults on candidates or campaigners during the three-week campaign. 

Darmanin said that around 30,000 officers were being deployed around the country for election night. Both far-right and far-left activists were planning demonstrations across the country should the RN secure a majority.

Skip next section What's the magic number to win French parliamentary elections?
July 7, 2024

What's the magic number to win French parliamentary elections?

Time for a quick arithmetic recap as the close of voting and preliminary results appoach. 

Today's vote will decide all 577 seats in France's influential lower house, the Assemble Nationale

That means Marine Le Pen's RN needs a total of at least 289 to have an absolute majority. 

When voting closes at 8 p..m., the first projections based on exit polls will swiftly follow from national broadcasters and the polling companies they commission. The official tally is expected Monday morning.

Every seat is decided on a majoritarian basis in the second round; in other words, the candidate with the most votes wins outright. 

Skip next section Turnout approaching 60% late in the afternoon
July 7, 2024

Turnout approaching 60% late in the afternoon

A five p.m. local time (1500 UTC) update on turnout shows higher figures than at the same stage of France's last parliamentary election in 2022. 

Some 59.7% of eligible voters had cast ballots, with another three hours left to vote, the Interior Ministry said.

That compares to just 38.11% at the same time in the second round of 2022's election. Turnout tends to be much lower at these votes in France than for presidential elections, which tend to attract at least 70% of voters. 

In these snap elections called by Macron, turnout looks on course to more or less mirror the figures France would tend to expect when selecting a president.

The partial figures were similar to the figures from last weekend's first round of voting, in fact, they were slightly higher. 

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