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Final result still uncertain as far right leads France election, exit polls show

Demonstrators hold umbrellas in a cloud of tear gas during a clash with French police as they take part in a rally after the announcement of the results of the first round of the parliamentary elections in Nantes, western France, on June 30, 2024. (Photo by AFP)

Marine Le Pen's far-right National Rally (RN) party emerged ahead in the first round of France's parliamentary elections on Sunday, exit polls showed, but the unpredictable final result will depend on days of horsetrading before next week's runoff.

The RN was seen winning around 33 percent of the vote, exit polls from BFMTV showed.

That was ahead of leftist and centrist rivals, including President Emmanuel Macron's Together alliance, whose bloc was seen winning 22 percent. The New Popular Front, a hastily assembled left-wing coalition, was projected to win around 28.5 percent of the vote.

The results from the high-turnout vote, which were in line with polls ahead of the election, provided little clarity on whether the anti-immigrant, euroskeptic RN will be able to form a government to cohabit with the pro-EU Macron.

A week of political bargaining now lies ahead of the July 7 runoff. The final result will depend on how parties decide to join forces in each of France's 577 constituencies for the second round. In the past, France's center-right and center-left parties have teamed up to keep the RN from taking power, but that dynamic, called the "republican front" in France, is less certain than ever.

(Source: Reuters)

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