Le Pen’s Party Falls Short of Parliamentary Majority in French Election – Exit Poll

The New Popular Front (NFP), a left-wing coalition, appears to have won the parliamentary election, although by a narrow margin.

France is facing a hung parliament, with no party projected to secure an absolute majority in the second round of the parliamentary election, according to preliminary estimates released by the Ipsos Talan polling agency on Sunday.

The right-wing National Rally party (RN), led by Marine Le Pen, which emerged as the frontrunner in the first round with 37 seats, is predicted to finish third with an estimated 132 to 152 seats.

Despite its strong showing, the New Popular Front (NFP) is unlikely to achieve an absolute majority in the legislature, with estimates placing its final seat count between 172 and 192. The NFP had initially secured 32 mandates in the 577-strong National Assembly in the first round.

Close behind the NFP is President Emmanuel Macron’s liberal Ensemble coalition, which is expected to win between 150 to 170 seats in the second round.

The turnout this weekend is estimated to be 67.1%, according to Ipsos Talan, which would be the highest turnout since 1997, if confirmed.

Macron will not address the nation on Sunday following the vote, according to the Elysee Palace. The president plans to analyze the election results before taking any further action, his office said, adding that he would await the formation of the new parliament before “taking the necessary decisions.” The statement emphasized the president’s intention to “respect the choice of the French people.

Prime Minister Gabriel Attal has announced his resignation, effective Tuesday, following the release of the exit poll results. Attal, who was re-elected in his constituency, will join the National Assembly as an MP, according to French media.

Attal stated that he would “never accept” the fact that “millions” of people in France voted for those he labeled “radicals.” He also remarked that the “strength of our values” had prevented radical forces from obtaining an absolute majority in the legislature.

Jean-Luc Melenchon, the head of the France Unbowed party, a member of the NFP, called on Macron to “accept defeat” and allow the left-wing coalition to form the new government. “We have achieved a result that we were told was impossible,” he said, adding that “the president must call on the New Popular Front to govern.

RN leader Jordan Bardella praised the party’s performance as “the most important breakthrough in [the] entire history” of the party. He blamed the “alliance of dishonor” between Macron’s party and the left-wing coalition for preventing an RN victory, apparently referring to the “tactical withdrawals” ahead of the second round.

Marine Le Pen, the party’s veteran politician and former leader, said she had “too much experience to be disappointed by a result where we double the number of our [MPs].” She also stated that the RN’s ultimate “victory is only delayed.

Macron called for early parliamentary elections following the RN’s strong performance in the European Parliament elections in early June. Members of the National Assembly are elected in single-seat constituencies through direct voting in two rounds. A candidate can win outright in the first round if they get over half of the vote. If none achieves this feat, any candidate reaching the 12.5% threshold enters the second round.

Prior to this weekend’s vote, Macron’s Renaissance party and the NFP engaged in what the media called “tactical withdrawals.” As many as 200 candidates from the president’s party and the left-wing coalition withdrew from the second round to avoid splitting the vote between them, and to prevent the RN party from securing an absolute majority (289 seats) in the parliament.