The French Revolution: Part Deux

French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal announced his resignation following the victory of the left-wing New Popular Front in the parliamentary elections last night.

The Socialists/Communists received seven million votes and 180 seats. Macrons party got 6.7 million votes and 159 seats. The Marine Le Pen’s right-wing party got over 10 million votes – the most, but only 142 seats.

Despite the left-wing alliance’s win, they did not secure an absolute majority, leading to Attal’s decision to step down. In the affray that followed President Macron has asked him to stay on assist with the transition. He also requested social media to remove the ‘most sensitive’ rioting content.

The election results also saw Marine Le Pen’s far-right party finishing third in what was a hastily cobbled together move from the Macron’s center Left and the far-left parties, to pull hundreds of vote-splitting candidates from the ballots to stop Le Pen from gaining control of the government. This move ensured a coalition of leftist parties will now dominate the French Parliament.

Following the announcement, and despite their side winning, the left took to the streets and riots broke out in Paris, with demonstrators clashing with police and setting barricades on fire near Place de la République.

The police responded with tear gas to disperse the rioters. Attal stated he would remain in office until a new cabinet is formed.

Here’s what led up to last night’s shenanigans.

Based on the information provided, Emmanuel Macron, current President of France took several actions to ensure the Left held on to power in France.

1. He called a snap election in an attempt to thwart the far-right National Rally party led by Marine Le Pen. This was a risky move that backfired, as the National Rally surged in the first round of the parliamentary elections.

2. Macron’s centrist alliance, Ensemble, trailed in third place with 21% of the vote, leaving many in his camp pondering why he called the snap election in the first place.

3. The left-wing New Popular Front, which formed just last month with the goal of keeping the National Rally from power, won 177 seats, compared with 148 for President Emmanuel Macron’s Ensemble.

The New Popular Front (NFP), is a left-wing alliance that includes several parties ranging from the far-left France Unbowed party to the more moderate Socialists and the Ecologists. The coalition’s main goals include:

  1. Raising the minimum monthly wage to €1,600 (more than $1,700).
  2. Capping the price of essential foods, electricity, fuel, and gas.
  3. Scrapping President Emmanuel Macron’s deeply unpopular pension reform, which raised the French retirement age from 62 to 64.

The coalition aims to address economic issues and improve the standard of living for the French people, particularly those on lower incomes.

4. The left-wing parties came together in a very swift marriage of convenience to form an alliance that included the Greens, Socialists, Communists, and the hard-left France Unbowed (LFI) movement.

5. Macron was adamant in his faith in the voters to refuse to choose the extremes of both sides of the political spectrum. He called on “men and women of goodwill who were able to say ‘no’ to extremes on the left and the right to join together to be able to build a joint project” for the country.

6. Macron justified his decision to call the snap election by the fact that he could not ignore the new political reality after his pro-European party was handed a chastening defeat and garnered less than half the support of the National Rally with its star leader, Jordan Bardella.

7. Macron’s party is already governing in the country’s lower house, the National Assembly, without a majority after its poorer-than-expected showing in the 2022 legislative elections, forcing it either to seek out coalitions to pass legislation or use a constitutional tool to force through new laws.