Anarchy on streets of Paris ahead of Olympics, political paralysis hits France after election result shocks nation

    The unexpected victory of a French left-wing coalition in high-stakes legislative elections, overcoming a much-anticipated far-right surge, has thrown the country’s political landscape into turmoil. With no major party securing a majority, France is now facing the prospect of a hung parliament.

    France in political turmoil and Paris hit by riots weeks ahead of Olympics Paris.

    French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal announced his intent to resign after the far-left coalition won a plurality of parliamentary seats, though it fell short of a majority. This result marks a significant upset for conservatives who had hoped for Marine Le Pen’s National Rally to take power.

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    “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 later in the day.

    Riots in Paris and political paralysis in France ahead of Olympics

    The announcement of the election results was followed by violent protests in Paris, just weeks before the city is set to host the Olympic Games, commencing on July 27. Thousands of right-wing protesters and left-wing celebrators flooded the streets of Paris after the election’s dramatic outcome shocked the nation. President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist coalition is projected to take second place.

    Massive bonfires erupted on Parisian streets as authorities in riot gear confronted demonstrators. Several arrests were made as police used tear gas to disperse the growing violence. In response, protesters hurled Molotov cocktails and set off smoke bombs, escalating the chaos.

    The unprecedented election results and ensuing unrest highlight a period of significant political instability in France, raising concerns about the country’s direction and its ability to govern effectively amid such divisions.

    On the other side in Paris’ Stalingrad square, supporters on the left cheered and applauded the election results. Cries of joy also rang out in Republique plaza in eastern Paris, with people spontaneously hugging strangers and several minutes of nonstop applause after the projections landed.

    Marielle Castry, a medical secretary, was on the Metro in Paris when projected results were first announced.

    “Everybody had their smartphones and were waiting for the results and then everybody was overjoyed,” said the 55-year-old. “I had been stressed out since June 9 and the European elections. … And now, I feel good. Relieved.”

    France Election: Political instability ensues

    A hung assembly in France, EU’s second largest market is expected to inversely impact the markets and have far-ranging implications for war in Ukraine and global diplomacy.

    When Macron flies to Washington for a summit this week of the NATO alliance, he will leave a country with no clear idea who may be its next prime minister and facing the prospect that the president may be obliged to share power with a politician deeply opposed to his policies.

    On June 9 French President Emmanuel Macron announced snap polls after the surge of far right. However, the gambit backfired and now, according to the official results released early Monday, all three main blocs fell far short of the 289 seats needed to control the 577-seat National Assembly.

    The results showed just over 180 seats for the New Popular Front leftist coalition, which placed first, ahead of Macron’s centrist alliance, with more than 160 seats. Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally and its allies were restricted to third place, although their more than 140 seats were still way ahead of the party’s previous best showing — 89 seats in 2022.

    France political situation: What next?

    The recent legislative elections in France have dramatically shifted the political landscape, with a left-wing coalition unexpectedly winning a plurality of parliamentary seats but falling short of an outright majority.

    The far left coalition, led by Jean-Luc Mélenchon, is pushing for the chance to form a government and propose a prime minister. However, without a clear majority, they will need to negotiate with other parties to pass legislation, leading to a potentially unstable government structure.

    They have even vowed to reverse many of Macron’s key reforms and embark on significant public spending initiatives. Macron has criticized this economic program, warning it could be detrimental to France’s financial stability. The coalition also plans to adopt a tougher stance on international issues such as the Israel-Hamas conflict.

    With no successful coalition probability France could enter a period of cohabitation, where the president and the prime minister come from different political factions. Otherwise, if the current political deadlock continues, there might be calls for another round of elections to break the stalemate.

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