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Showdown as Popular Front demands right to form a government - but Macron declines

FRANCE’S New Popular Front (NPF), which won the most seats in Sunday’s parliamentary election, has called on President Emmanuel Macron to ask it to form a government.

But the president yesterday addressed the nation saying as no bloc had a majority, he intended to keep current Prime Minister Gabriel Attal in place until a compromise coalition had been built up – and even hinting it should not include representatives of the biggest part of the NPF, the left-wing France Unbowed.

The NPF won 180 seats to 159 for Ensemble (“Together”), Mr Macron’s bloc, and outpolled it by over two million votes. The two must co-operate to form a governing majority.

The NPF had warned the president that his “prolonged retention” of Prime Minister Gabriel Attal of Ensemble looks like an attempt to erase the election result (in which Ensemble lost its majority) and that he should “immediately turn to the New Popular Front.

“We solemnly warn the president against any attempt to hijack the institutions,” it added. French communist newspaper l’Humanite warned today Establishment politicians were manoeuvring to block the radical programme NPF MPs were elected on, including reducing the pension age, raising wages and introducing price controls.

The NPF is “the leading Republican force in this country and it is therefore our responsibility to form a government [and] implement the policies expected by the French people,” its MP Cyrielle Chatelain, of the Greens, said.

But Mr Macron said he would take “a little time” before appointing a prime minister, calling for a coalition with a majority to be presented first and saying it should adhere to what he terms “Republican values,” widely reported in France as excluding the socialist left as well as the far-right National Rally.

The NPF is a four-party alliance of the socialists, communists, Greens and left-wing France Unbowed, and its own components are currently negotiating on a candidate for PM.

The Socialists, the most right-wing of the NPF parties, are publicly insisting that France Unbowed leader Jean-Luc Melenchon be ruled out.


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