Shock results in French election: Who are the winners and losers in Paris?

Shock results in French election: Who are the winners and losers in Paris?

The left-wing alliance the New Popular Front has come first in French legislative elections, but failed to obtain a majority of lawmakers needed to control the National Assembly, according to an exit poll.

The predictions from Ipsos represent a setback for the far-right National Rally (RN) – which saw its hopes of an absolute majority shattered by tactical voting and candidates strategically withdrawing.

The New Popular Front (NFP), a hastily formed coalition of socialists, communists, greens and the leftist France Unbowed party, is set to take between 171 and 187 of the chamber’s 577 seats, Ipsos predicted.

It’s followed by the Ensemble coalition of President Emmanuel Macron – which Ipsos predicts will get 152-163 seats, a significant fall from the 245 it gained in the most recent 2022 elections.

Despite topping the polls in a first round held on 30 June, Marine Le Pen’s RN National Rally likely came third with 134-152 seats, which, if confirmed, would dash hopes of installing Jordan Bardella as Prime Minister.

Today’s poll was the second round of snap elections called by Macron on 9 June, after he took a hammering in a vote to select Members of the European Parliament.

Ensemble, previously known as En Marche, was largely assembled around the presidency of Macron, who’s become increasingly unpopular as his second and final term reaches its closing years.

His collapse has largely benefited RN, a long-established radical right-wing party which had zero Assembly seats as recently as 2007.

Leftists up, centre-right founders

The NFP was assembled in June to fend off the threat from the far-right, though it didn’t succeed in achieving full unity; left-wing parties outside the NFP took 14-16 seats, the poll suggested.

In 2022, the equivalent coalition, known as NUPES, gained 131 seats, while other leftists had 22 – though it’s not clear how long the NFP’s disparate alliance will hang together.

The results spell continuing bad news for the Republicans.

The centre-right party of Charles de Gaulle and Nicolas Sarkozy long dominated French politics, but it (and its allies) are now predicted to gain 63-68 seats – albeit that doesn’t count those members, including party leader Eric Ciotti, that pledged allegiance to Le Pen.

Who will be Prime Minister?

Given the results, Macronist Gabriel Attal seems likely to lose his post as Prime Minister, which he’s only held since January – though it’s not clear who will replace him.

The French constitution allows for “cohabitation”, with a President and Prime Minister from different parties. It last happened from 1997-2002, when Socialist Lionel Jospin ruled alongside centre-right President Jacques Chirac.

But it’s unprecedented for no party to win a majority without any obvious ruling coalition, and France may now find itself in an unfamiliar deadlock.

France has a two-round electoral system – only those who scored sufficiently well in a 30 June vote advanced to today’s run-off.

But around 215 successful candidates stepped down over the course of the week, as the “Republican Front” sought to avoid splitting the anti-far-right vote in constituencies where three or more people made it through.

With so much at stake, voters have turned out in droves. As at 6.25pm, turnout was at 67.1%, the highest seen since 1997 and far higher than the 46.2% gained in 2022, Ipsos said.

Already this afternoon, Paris was bracing for potentially violent protests at the outcome, and shops on the swanky Champs-Elysées boarded up their windows in preparation.

UPDATE: this story was updated at 22:00 to reflect latest Ipsos exit polls.