France’s left-wing alliance in search of best candidate for prime minister

France’s left-wing alliance in search of best candidate for prime minister

Parties in alliance continue discussions to find suitable name this week, leaders say

By Nur Asena Erturk

ANKARA (AA) – France’s left-wing alliance the New Popular Front (NPF) has begun searching for a candidate for prime minister after announcing its victory in the country’s snap parliamentary elections.

None of the three main blocs -- the far right, center and left – secured an outright majority to govern the country in the second round on July 7.

The NPF’s parties started to discuss internally which candidate should be proposed as the next prime minister to President Emmanuel Macron, who will designate them to form the government.

Macron on Monday rejected outgoing Prime Minister Gabriel Attal’s resignation and asked him to keep his functions “for now” until stability is ensured in the country, according to media reports.

Manuel Bompard from the La France Insoumise (France Unbowed, LFI) party told broadcaster BFMTV earlier Monday that it is impossible that keeping Attal in his post could erase French citizens’ votes.

“Today we are gearing up for governing, for implementing the program that is ours,” Bompard said, adding that President Macron has the duty to call the NPF to govern the country.

It is a stance backed by Green Party (EELV) National Secretary Marine Tondelier, who told broadcaster RTL that Macron should “officially call” today for the NPF to designate a name.

But the name to propose is dividing the parties.

One of the leading figures of the NPF, former presidential candidate and LFI founder Jean-Luc Melenchon, is a much-debated name.

Tondelier stressed in this context that “a good prime minister must soothe the country, unite in their own bloc.”

“He (Melenchon) said he does not want to impose himself, and a great part of the NPF has said that they particularly do not want him,” she added, implying that Melenchon is not a suitable candidate.

But the LFI’s parliamentary group leader Mathilde Panot told RTL that the Melenchon option “is not excluded.”

“He is the one who taught the left that it could win again,” she said, adding that discussions continue.

Socialist Party leader Olivier Faure said the alliance must propose a candidate this week, according to the Le Figaro daily.

- Political landscape

The New Popular Front could win over 180 seats in the National Assembly, according to the latest projections based on data from the Interior Ministry.

The centrist alliance Together for the Republic, backed by Macron, finished second with over 160 seats, while Marine Le Pen's far-right National Front (RN) party got over 140 seats.

The National Assembly has 577 seats, and none of the three primary alliances is expected to win an absolute majority of 289 lawmakers.

The first round was held on June 30, and 76 candidates were elected.

The RN received 29.26% of the vote alone (37 seats), a figure that rose to more than 33% when combined with its allies.

The NPF got 28.06% (32 seats), followed by Together for the Republic with slightly over 20.04% (two seats).

Macron dissolved parliament and announced early elections after the RN won more than 31% of the vote in the European Parliament elections on June 9, defeating his centrist bloc.

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