France's Macron, breaking post-vote silence, urges mainstream coalition

  • World
  • Wednesday, 10 Jul 2024

FILE PHOTO: Members of Parliament Mathilde Panot, Louis Boyard, Manuel Bompard and Clemence Guette of the French far-left opposition party La France Insoumise (France Unbowed - LFI) and the alliance of left-wing parties, called the "Nouveau Front Populaire" (New Popular Front - NFP), arrive with other elected members of parliament at the National Assembly in Paris after the second round of the early French parliamentary elections, France, July 9, 2024. REUTERS/Yara Nardi/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) -French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday called on mainstream parties to join forces to form a solid majority in the National Assembly, in his first public comments since Sunday's snap election delivered parliamentary gridlock.

The vote, which Macron unexpectedly called after losing to the far-right National Rally (RN) in June's European elections, has plunged France into uncharted waters, with three politically divergent blocs and no obvious path to forming a government.

In a letter to regional newspapers, the deeply unpopular Macron urged mainstream parties with "republican values" to form a governing coalition and said he hoped to pick a prime minister from such a grouping.

"Let us place our hope in the ability of our political leaders to demonstrate sense, harmony and calm in your interest, and that of the country," he wrote. "It is in the light of these principles that I will decide on the appointment of the prime minister."

Macron did not explicitly call for the RN and the hard-left France Unbowed (LFI) parties to be excluded from such coalition, but his mention of "republican values" is typically understood to exclude parties on the far left or the far right.

The left-wing New Popular Front (NFP), which combines France Unbowed, the Communists, Greens and Socialists, unexpectedly won the most seats in Sunday's vote, but not a majority. Macron's centrist camp came second and the RN third.

(Reporting by Benoit Van Overstraeten, Ingrid Melander, Zhifan Liu, Blandine Henault; Writing by Gabriel Stargardter; Editing by Estelle Shirbon and Jon Boyle)

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