Monday 8 July 2024 - 09:23

France Elections: Riots Broke Out As Le Pen’s Party Falls Short of Historic Milestone

Story Code : 1146464
France Elections: Riots Broke Out As Le Pen’s Party Falls Short of Historic Milestone
Over 30,000 riot police officers, including 5,000 in Paris alone, were deployed across France to prevent violence as political tensions rose ahead of the election showdown between the right and left.

Shortly after preliminary results were announced on Sunday night, riots sparked at the New Popular Front rally in downtown Paris, with Nantes, Lyon, Marseille, and Rennes soon joining in.

The crowd gathered at Republic Square, firing fireworks and chanting: “Young people, screw the National Front!”

Police desperately tried to disperse the crowd with tear gas as a hooded and masked mob started throwing bottles, erecting barricades, and setting bikes on fire. At least one officer was reportedly injured by a Molotov cocktail.

This comes as France faces a hung legislature with no clear candidate for prime minister after no party managed to win an outright majority in the second round of the parliamentary election, local media reported on Sunday, citing final count data provided by the Ministry of the Interior.

The right-wing National Rally party [RN], linked to Marine Le Pen, which emerged as the frontrunner last weekend, finished third this time, winning 143 seats in the 577-strong National Assembly.

The New Popular Front [NFP] also failed to secure an absolute majority in the legislature, winning 182 seats. In the first-round last weekend, it secured only 32 mandates compared to RN’s 37 but managed to boost results dramatically following “tactical withdrawals” by hundreds of candidates.

President Emmanuel Macron’s liberal Ensemble coalition trailed the left with 168 seats, according to Le Monde.

Turnout this weekend is estimated to have been 67.1%, according to Ipsos Talan, which would be the highest since 1997 if confirmed.

Macron has refused to address the nation following the vote. The Elysee Palace said the president will analyze the election results before making any further steps, adding that he would wait for the new parliament to be formed to “take the necessary decisions.” The head of state would “respect the choice of the French people,” the statement added.

Prime Minister Gabriel Attal announced in the wake of the exit poll results that he would submit his resignation on Tuesday. He was re-elected in his constituency and will now join the National Assembly as an MP, according to French media.

Attal also stated he would “never accept” the fact that “millions” of people in France voted for those he called “radicals.” He also remarked that the “strength of our values” had prevented radical forces from getting an absolute majority in the legislature.