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Blow for Le Pen’s far-right national party as French voters deliver win for the left, exit poll shows

National Rally has come third in the second round of voting in France’s parliamentary election – according to exit polls.

Marine Le Pen’s far-right party was being tipped to emerge as the dominant force in French politics following President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to hold a snap poll.

But the left-wing New Popular Front coalition won the most seats in the second voting round of parliamentary elections, according to the polls.

An IFOP estimate for broadcaster TF1 said the New Popular Front (NFP) could win 180-215 seats in parliament in the second voting round, while an Ipsos poll for France TV projected 172-215 seats for the left-wing bloc.

President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist group was said to be narrowly ahead of National Rally (RN).

After RN emerged from the first round of parliamentary voting as the leading party, centrist and leftist parties agreed to withdraw 221 candidates, including 83 from President Macron’s camp and 132 from the NFP, in order to avoid three-way run-offs.

Supporters of Jean-Luc Mélenchon's left wing La France Insoumise party celebrate the exit polls in Paris. Pic: Reuters
Image:
Supporters of the left wing France Unbowed party celebrate the exit polls in Paris. Pic: Reuters

Jean-Luc Melenchon, who leads left wing party France Unbowed – part of the NFP – said the exit projections were an “immense relief for a majority of people in our country”.

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“We saved the Republic,” he said, adding: “The New Popular Front is ready to govern.”

“And. after all, it’s the only alternative which has got a very organised programme and a very detailed programme.”

Jordan Bardella, president of National Rally, said: “We’ve been thrown into the arms of the extreme left and of Jean-Luc Melenchon.”

He said the coalitions formed in response to RN’s success in the first round had “paralysed” the French political system and Mr Macron had “pushed the country towards uncertainty and instability”.

“I know how many millions of French people must be frustrated,” he added.

Mr Macron’s office said: “The president, as guarantor of our institutions, will respect the choice of the French people.”

It also said he was a analysing the results and waiting for the full picture to emerge.

If the exit polls prove accurate, France is on course for a hung parliament, divided between three sizeable groups.

Unless the left can strike deals with other parties, a period of instability is possible.

Jordan Bardella, president of National Rally. Pic: Reuters
Image:
Jordan Bardella, president of National Rally. Pic: Reuters

The NFP – just under a month old – is a broad left-wing electoral alliance.

It was launched on 10 June in response to Emmanuel Macron calling the snap election.

It comprises La France Insoumise (France Unbowed), the Socialist Party, Les Ecologistes, the French Communist Party, Generations, Place Publique, and several other left-leaning parties and groups.

France Unbowed is the largest party in the NFP.

Although the NFP has no official leader, Mr Melenchon is widely thought to be the closest person to that.

Prior to voting, opinion polls had been forecasting that National Rally would win the most seats in the National Assembly, but also predicted it would fall short of an absolute majority.

Voter turnout stood at 59.71% by 5pm local time – up from a corresponding figure of 38.11% in the last election in 2022, the interior ministry said.

It has been a volatile campaign, with more than 50 candidates reporting being physically attacked.

More than 30,000 police were deployed on voting day.

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