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The Latest | Macron asks French prime minister to stay on for the sake of stability

French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal walks back to the Prime Minister residence after delivering a speech following the second round of the legislative elections, Sunday, July 7, 2024 in Paris. A coalition of the French left that quickly banded together to beat a surging far right in legislative elections won the most seats in parliament but not a majority, according to polling projections Sunday, a stunning outcome that threatens to plunge the country into political and economic turmoil. (AP Photo/Aurelien Morissard)
Original Publication Date July 08, 2024 - 3:06 AM

French President Emmanuel Macron rejected the resignation of Prime Minister Gabriel Attal Monday, in the wake of a chaotic election result that left neither left, right, nor center with a majority in the National Assembly.

A broad left-leaning coalition, the New Popular Front, took the most seats in Sunday’s runoff but fell short of a majority.

It surged ahead of the far-right National Rally, which placed third behind Macron's centrist party. Voter turnout was high.

The outcome leaves France facing the stunning prospect of a hung parliament and threatens political paralysis in a pillar of the European Union and Olympic host country.

The far right drastically increased the number of seats it holds in parliament but fell far short of expectations.

What happens next in this nuclear-armed nation has potential to impact the war in Ukraine, global diplomacy and Europe’s economic stability.


— With French voters split between left, center and right, political paralysis threatens.

— Global markets are mixed as France faces weeks of uncertainty.

— Here's a guide to how French elections work and what could happen next.

— How Marcon went from successful political newcomer to weakened leader.

Here’s the latest:

UK says it will work with any French government regardless of affiliation

British Prime Minister Keir Starmer is prepared to work with the French leadership regardless of political affiliation, a spokesperson said.

“France is obviously one of the U.K.’s closest partners. As Nato and G7 members, we have many shared interests,” a spokesperson said. “The prime minister has said previously he will work with any government in Europe and across the world.”

Markets take French election result in stride after no majority for either left or far-right

French markets are taking the results of Sunday’s election in stride even though no political force won a majority and the country faces weeks of political uncertainty.

This comes as the scenario that had investors worried the most didn’t happen: a majority for either the left-wing New Popular Front or for the populist, anti-immigration National Rally of Marine Le Pen. Both have made expansive promises to increase social spending or in the National Rally’s case to cut taxes, steps that could have increased France’s already large budget deficit and led to financial turmoil.

The CAC-40 index — which includes the country’s biggest companies such as luxury goods makers LVMH and Hermes, cosmetics and personal care company L’Oreal and oil major TotalEnergies. —rose 0.2% to 7,692.97.

A key index of financial market tension eased slightly as the spread, or difference, between yields on French government bonds and highly safe German government bonds shrank from .77 percentage point to .62 percentage point.

Analysts said that without a clear majority in parliament, France may nonetheless struggle to reduce its budget deficit swollen by consumer support spending during the energy crisis which began when Russia cut off most supplies of natural gas over the invasion of Ukraine.

Relief prevails in Germany, government spokesperson says

The government in Germany, which together with France has long been viewed as the engine of European integration, expressed relief Monday that the nationalist far right had not become the strongest party in its key partner country.

“For now, a certain relief prevails that things that we feared have not materialized,” a spokesperson for German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told reporters in Berlin. “Only time will tell what happens with this election result and France will decide.”

“The German-French relationship is a very special one,” Steffen Hebestreit added. “It is certainly also the core for the fact that we are experiencing Europe in peace and freedom.”

Macron's Cabinet arrives for post-election meeting

Members of French President Emmanuel Macron’s Cabinet trickled into the presidential palace on Monday after chaotic election results left no political faction with a clear majority.

Among the arrivals late Monday morning were the prime minister named by Macron just seven months ago, and the interior minister.

Prime Minister Gabriel Attal has said he would offer his resignation Monday but said he would stay “as long as duty requires.” His departure would leave France without a head of government less than three weeks before the start of the Paris Olympics.

Attal on Sunday made clear that he disagreed with Macron’s decision to call the surprise elections. The results of two rounds of voting left no clear path to form a government for either the leftist coalition that came in first, Macron’s centrist alliance, or the far right.

News from © The Associated Press, 2024
The Associated Press

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