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Jul 8, 2024, 7:40am EDT
Europe
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Semafor Signals

What’s next for France’s hung Parliament?

Insights from The Guardian, Atlantic Council, Politico, Le Monde, and BBC

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Gabriel Attal, French Prime Minister and French presidential majority group "Ensemble pour la Republique" candidate, delivers a speech after partial results in the second round of the early French parliamentary elections, at Hotel Matignon in Paris in Paris, France, July 7, 2024. REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane
French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal. Guglielmo Mangiapane/Reuters
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The News

France is in political deadlock after a left-wing coalition upended expectations by defeating the far-right in the final round of a snap election but fell short of a majority.

The New Popular Front, a leftist coalition forged last month to keep the far right out of power, won the most seats in Parliament, followed by President Emmanuel Macron’s centrists in second place, and Marine Le Pen’s National Rally and its allies in third.

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The resulting hung Parliament has raised questions about where France goes next.

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SIGNALS

Semafor Signals: Global insights on today's biggest stories.

Attal will remain PM for now, but could face no-confidence vote

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Sources:  
Le Monde, BBC

Macron has asked Prime Minister Gabriel Attal — a member of the president’s party who offered his resignation after the results — to remain in his post for the time being, to “ensure stability” as the country prepares to host the Olympics in less than three weeks. But Attal will likely face a no-confidence vote from Parliament as early as July 18 when the National Assembly holds its first session, Le Monde noted. A “motion of no confidence would have a good chance of being passed, since the presidential coalition now has only 168 seats out of 577, and it would lead to the immediate dismissal of the Attal government,” the newspaper said.

Appointment of future PM a tough choice for Macron

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Sources:  
The Atlantic Council, Politico

It’s unclear if Attal will remain in the role long term. Macron is not bound by the results of the election, and theoretically could choose anyone to be premier, but custom dictates that he appoints someone from the party that wins the election. Macron “will have to choose a prime minister who will appoint a government whose first task will be to be strong enough to avoid falling prey to a no-confidence vote,” former French cabinet minister Rama Yade wrote for the Atlantic Council. It is possible that to avoid massive disagreements within the incoming government, the left will choose a candidate from outside the political sphere, Politico noted.

Coalition a possibility, but parties have no history of collaboration

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Source:  
The Guardian

Unlike other European nations, France has little experience of a hung Parliament: Typically, one party wins a clear majority in its elections. A coalition will depend on the different parties’ willingness to compromise, wrote The Guardian’s Europe correspondent. The three opposing blocs have historically not worked together, and diverge on key issues, from taxation to climate change. “It’s a nice idea on paper, but there’s a huge gap between what’s possible and what’s actually achievable,” Bertrand Mathieu, an expert in constitutional law from Sorbonne University, told the newspaper. “And its programme could envisage only a bare minimum.”

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