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Marine Le Pen. Picture: SARAH MEYSSONNIER/REUTERS
Marine Le Pen. Picture: SARAH MEYSSONNIER/REUTERS

Paris — France’s left-wing alliance and President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist bloc battled to put together rival bids to form a government, as far-right leader Marine Le Pen said on Wednesday that blame for the political impasse lay squarely with Macron.

The unexpected outcome of Sunday’s snap election, in which the leftist New Popular Front (NFP) benefited from a surprise surge but no group won an absolute majority, has plunged France into uncertainty, with no obvious path to a stable government.

To further complicate things, leaders within each camp disagreed on who to reach out to try to cobble together a deal. Internal tensions within parties also grew as members jostled for influence in rebuilding a political landscape blown apart by the snap ballot.

And any government — of the left, centre, or a broader coalition — could quickly fall victim to a confidence vote from the opposition if it has not secured sufficient solid support.

“Today, we find ourselves in a quagmire since no-one is able to know from what rank the prime minister will come, or what policy will be pursued for the country,” National Rally leader Marine Le Pen told reporters as she arrived in parliament. Le Pen condemned pre-election deals she said kept her party from power.

Macron, whose term ends in 2027, called the parliamentary ballot after his party was trounced by the far right in EU elections last month, had said it would clarify the landscape, which has not happened.

“To say the least, this is not a great success for Emmanuel Macron,” Le Pen said.

Financial markets, the European Commission and France’s eurozone partners are all watching closely to see whether the impasse can be broken.

It would be customary for Macron to call on the biggest parliamentary group to form a government, but nothing in the constitution obliges him to do so.

Options include a broad coalition and a minority government, which would pass laws in parliament on a case-by-case basis, with ad hoc agreements.

Phones are ringing constantly, political sources said, with some centrists now hoping they can reach a deal with the conservative Republican Party and edge the left out.

“I think there is an alternative to the New Popular Front,” Aurore Berge, a senior legislator from Macron’s Renaissance group, told France 2 TV. “I think the French don’t want the NFP’s platform to be implemented, I think they don’t want tax increases. We are the only ones who can extend [our base],” she said.

Meanwhile, leftist leaders also took to the airwaves to stress that, having topped the election, they should run the government. But without a deal yet on who could be prime minister, they now face growing competition from the right and centre.

Carole Delga, from the Socialist Party, stressed that the left on its own cannot govern, and must extend its hand to others, but on the basis of the NFP’s tax-and-spend programme.

But others took a harder line. “The NFP has the greatest number of deputies in the National Assembly. It is therefore up to the NFP to constitute a government ... this is what we are working towards,” Manuel Bompard, from France Unbowed, told LCI TV. 

Reuters

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