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Macron appears to rule out forming a government with the far-left

Three days after the second round of France’s snap parliamentary elections ended in deadlock, President Emmanuel Macron broke his silence to call on mainstream parties to form a solid majority in the National Assembly and exclude extremists.

The vote in France, which Macron unexpectedly called after his party was defeated by Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally (RN) party in last month’s European elections, has thrown France into political limbo after none of the three main blocs came close to forming an outright majority.

In an open letter to the French people published on Wednesday (10), Macron called on parties with “republican values” – which is understood to exclude far-left and far-right parties – to form a coalition large enough to pass laws in parliament.

Macron’s comments suggest he is unwilling to work with the more extreme part of the left-wing New Popular Front (NFP) coalition, which secured a majority of seats in the French parliament in Sunday’s second-round vote but not enough to govern independently.

“I call on all political forces that recognize themselves in republican institutions, the rule of law, parliamentarism, European orientation and the defense of French independence, to engage in a sincere and loyal dialogue to build a solid, necessarily plural, majority for the country,” Macron wrote.

Macron said it was “in light of these principles” that he would decide on the appointment of France’s next prime minister. “This means giving the political forces a little time to build these commitments with serenity and mutual respect,” he said.

The NFP won 182 seats in the National Assembly, becoming the largest group in the 577-seat parliament.

Macron’s centrist “Ensemble” alliance, which came a distant third in the first round, mounted a strong comeback to win 163 seats. And the RN and its allies, despite leading in the first round, won 143 seats.

It is customary for the French president to appoint a prime minister from the largest parliamentary group – in this case the NFP – and ask him or her to form a government.

But Macron and his Ensemble allies have repeatedly refused to enter into a coalition with the far-left France Insoumise, the largest party within the NFP, and have accused its leader, the firebrand Jean-Luc Mélenchon, 72, of being as extremist and unfit to govern as figures on the far right.

The NFP was formed days after Macron called for early voting and chose its name in a bid to resurrect the original Popular Front that prevented the far right from gaining power in 1936.

After tactical voting and political bargaining between centrist and left-wing voters, the NFP achieved the same feat in Sunday’s second round.

But the NFP does not speak with a single voice. The various parties in the coalition cover vast ideological territories, from the ultra-left France Insoumise to the more moderate Place Publique and Socialist parties.

When the shock result was announced, each party celebrated separately, and the bloc has yet to nominate a leader to become prime minister.

Mélenchon has declared his intention to govern France. In a victory speech Sunday night near Stalingrad Square in Paris, he said Macron “has a duty” to ask the NFP to form a government.

Unlike its neighbors Italy and Germany, France – with its presidential system – lacks a culture of coalition-building and compromise, meaning that forming a new government can take weeks and be fleeting.

Newly elected members of parliament, called “deputies,” are scheduled to take their seats for the first time on July 18. But without a clear majority, a minority government faces the risk of no-confidence votes, which could lead to several governments replacing each other in quick succession.

French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal’s offer to resign was rejected by Macron on Monday, leaving him in a caretaker role until a new government is formed.

“The current government will continue to exercise its responsibilities and will then take care of day-to-day business in accordance with republican tradition,” Macron said, in an attempt to calm the situation two weeks before the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Paris.

Source: CNN Brasil

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