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France’s Gabriel Attal warns far right 'climbing the steps of power' after stunning parliamentary election

France prime minister Gabriel Attal warns rightwing climbing steps of power stunning parliamentary election conservative wins
via FRANCE 24 English

The out prime minister urges “no single vote” for Marine Le Pen’s National Rally party in the second round of voting next week.

While the results were not nearly as disastrous as polling data had suggested, the Ensemble coalition of centrist parties under out Prime Minister Gabriel Attal suffered a crushing defeat in Sunday’s snap parliamentary elections called by President Emmanuel Macron, France 24 reported.

Led by Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella, her 28-year-old protégé, the right-wing Rassemblement National or National Front (RN) party and its like-minded coalition gathered 33 percent of the vote. The New Popular Front, a coalition of leftist parties came in second place with 28 percent, while Ensemble garnered just 20 percent of votes cast and counted.

“The far right is currently climbing the steps to power. Never before in our history has the French Parliament run the risk of being dominated by the far right,” Attal warned in a statement read before cameras Sunday night. “So what we must do is clear: stopping the National Rally from achieving an absolute majority in the second round, dominating the National Assembly, and, therefore, governing the country with the projects that we know.”

Attal announced the decision to withdraw Ensemble candidates who finished in third place or lower to prevent a split vote that might deliver a victory to the RN candidate. The New Popular Front also announced it would pull candidates who did not finish in second place or higher.

Attal had harsh words for the New Popular Front and the leftist La France Insoumise or France Unbowed party, stating the election proved the coalition “will not be able to achieve an absolute majority” and that France Unbowed’s participation in the alliance “prevents it from being a credible alternative for power.”

Le Pen and Bardella had hoped to win a majority of 289 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly but fell significantly short of that goal on Sunday. Despite the setback, RN supporters were jubilant as Le Pen declared the “Marcronist bloc has been all but wiped out,” the BBC reported.

“I aim to be prime minister for all the French people, if the French give us their votes,” Bardella told the same supporters.

The next round of voting takes place on July 7, shortly before the Summer Olympics in Paris are scheduled to take place. All parties will jockey to form new voting blocs that will either secure or prevent an absolute majority in the next National Assembly.

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