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Violent clashes erupt in France after leftists' surprise election win

French CRS riot police run past burning bicycles during clashes with demonstrators in Paris on July 7, 2024. (Photo by Reuters)

Violence has erupted in France after a left-wing coalition won the most seats in the country’s parliamentary elections, beating the much-anticipated far-right wave as well as President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist alliance.

Footage showed masked demonstrators running through streets of France, igniting flares, and causing disturbances, while tens of thousands of riot police were deployed nationwide.

The incidents took place after a surprising exit poll on Sunday predicted the left-wing New Popular Front (NFP) alliance is leading the snap elections, winning 182 seats.

Macron’s centrist Ensemble alliance came second, securing 163 seats, while the far-right National Rally and its allies slumped to third place, winning 143 seats despite strong showing in first round of voting.

The surprising results crushed the National Rally’s hope to form the first far-right government in the country since the World War II.

French leftist leader Jean-Luc Melenchon called the projections an "immense relief for a majority of people in our country."

After the defeat of Macron’s camp, Prime Minister Gabriel Attal announced his resignation, but said he would "stay on as long as necessary" as Paris will host the 2024 Summer Olympics later this month.

France is now in political limbo, facing a hung parliament as no party or alliance has won the majority of seats.

Macron's office said the unpopular president would "wait for the new National Assembly to organize itself" before making any decisions.

He will have to form alliances to run the parliament.

The snap election was called by Macron after far right made major gains in the European elections.

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