French vote gives leftists most seats over far-right, but leaves hung parliament and deadlock

PARIS (AP) — A coalition of the French left won the most seats in high-stakes legislative elections Sunday, according to near-final results, beating back a far-right surge but failing to win a majority. The outcome left France facing the stunning prospect of a hung parliament and threatened political paralysis in a pillar of the European Union and Olympic host country.

That could rattle markets and the French economy, the EU’s second-largest, and have far-ranging implications for the war in Ukraine, global diplomacy and Europe’s economic stability.

In calling the election on June 9, after the far right surged in French voting for the European Parliament, Macron said sending voters back to the ballot boxes would provide “clarification.”On almost every level, that gamble appears to have backfired. Results so far showed France plunged into a political fog, with the three main blocs — a leftist coalition, the far-right National Rally and Macron’s centrists — all falling well short of the 289 seats needed to control the 577-seat National Assembly.“Our country is facing an unprecedented political situation and is preparing to welcome the world in a few weeks,” said Prime Minister Gabriel Attal, who plans to offer his resignation on Monday.

With the Olympics looming, he said he was ready to stay at his post “as long as duty demands.” Macron has three years remaining on his presidential term.

Attal made clearer than ever his disapproval of Macron’s shock decision to call the election, saying “I didn’t choose this dissolution” of the outgoing National Assembly, where the president’s centrist alliance used to be single biggest group, albeit without an absolute majority. Still, it was able to govern for two years, pulling in lawmakers from other camps to fight off efforts to bring it down.The new legislature appears shorn of such stability. With most ballots counted, the leftist coalition was leading Macron’s centrist alliance, with the far right in third. That confirms the picture also given by pollsters’ projections.

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