French elections result in uncertain parliamentary future

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PARIS (AP) — French voters have propelled a broad leftist coalition to the forefront of the parliamentary seats in pivotal legislative elections, effectively keeping the far right from gaining power.

However, no party secured an outright majority, thrusting France into an unprecedented and uncertain political situation.

President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist alliance finished in second place, while the far right came in third. Despite this, the far right significantly increased its number of seats in the National Assembly, France’s lower house of parliament.

With no clear figure emerging as a potential prime minister, Macron has announced he will wait before deciding his next steps, as he heads to Washington this week for a NATO summit. The newly elected legislators will begin their work in Parliament on Monday, with their first session starting on July 18.

The elections have resulted in three major political blocs, yet none have reached the majority threshold of at least 289 seats out of 577.

The National Assembly holds more influence than the Senate, which is controlled by conservatives, in the legislative process. This is the first time in modern French history that the parliament is without a dominant party.

This new political landscape requires lawmakers to build consensus across parties to agree on government positions and legislation. France’s fractious politics and deep divisions over issues like taxes, immigration, and Middle East policy make this especially challenging.

As a result, Macron’s centrist allies may struggle to implement their pro-business policies, including a promised overhaul of unemployment benefits, and passing a budget could prove difficult. Macron may seek a coalition with the moderate left to form a joint government, though such negotiations are expected to be challenging given France’s lack of tradition in this type of political arrangement.

This year is set to test even the most robust democracies. Stay updated with the latest developments and explore the 25 places where changes in leadership could have global impacts. Follow AP’s comprehensive elections coverage from around the world.

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