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Macron's a mess: Far right leads France parl. election in blow to president

Leader of France's far-right National Rally, Marine Le Pen, arrives at the party headquarters following voting during the first round of legislative elections in Henin-Beaumont on June 30. (By Bloomberg)

France’s far-right National Rally (RN) has taken the lead in the first round of parliamentary elections, in a blow to President Emmanuel Macron whose alliance came third.

Marine Le Pen’s National Rally won 33.1% of the vote, while the alliance of left-wing parties, the New Popular Front, scored 28%, and the Macron camp obtained only 20.76%.

The president’s “Macronist bloc has been all but wiped out,” Marine Le said, addressing RN’s supporters.

Jordan Bardella, the 28-year-old RN party leader, said “I aim to be prime minister for all the French people, if the French give us their votes.”

The gains scored by the far right are historic, but the final outcome will depend on next Sunday’s second round run-off votes.

What Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella seek is an absolute majority of 289 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly.

After the RN won the first round, Macron’s Prime Minister Gabriel Attal called for a “broad, clearly democratic and republican alliance for the second round.”

“Not a single vote must go to the National Rally,” he said, adding, “The stakes are clear - to prevent the National Rally from having an absolute majority.”

Without an absolute majority, France will have a hung parliament.

The snap election, which was called by Macron after far right made major gains in the European elections, saw a turnout of 66.7%, the highest for a parliamentary first round since 1997.

The gains came despite Macron’s repeated warnings against the rise of the far-right parties in Europe, whom he said can bring the continent to “a standstill.”

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