Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Macron keeps France’s prime minister in place for ‘stability of the country’

Mr Macron refused the Prime Minister’s offer of resignation (AP)
Mr Macron refused the Prime Minister’s offer of resignation (AP)

French President Emmanuel Macron has refused the resignation of the country’s Prime Minister, asking him to remain temporarily as the head of the government after chaotic election results left the government in limbo.

Voters split the legislature on the left, centre and far right, leaving no faction even close to the majority needed to form a government.

The results from Sunday’s vote raised the risk of political paralysis for the European Union’s second-largest economy.

Mr Macron had gambled on his decision to call snap elections giving France a “moment of clarification”, but the outcome showed the opposite, less than three weeks before the start of the Paris Olympics.

France’s main share index opened with a dip, but quickly recovered, possibly because markets had feared an outright victory for the far right or the leftist coalition.

Prime Minister Gabriel Attal had said he would remain in office if needed, but offered his resignation on Monday morning.

Mr Macron, who appointed him just seven months ago, immediately asked Mr Attal to stay on “to ensure the stability of the country”.

Gabriel Attal
French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal had offered to resign (AP)

The day before, Mr Attal made clear that he disagreed with Mr Macron’s decision to call the surprise elections.

The results of two rounds of voting left no obvious path to form a government for either the leftist coalition that came in first, Mr Macron’s centrist alliance, or the far right.

Newly elected and returning legislators gathered at the National Assembly to begin negotiations in earnest.

Mr Macron himself will leave later in the week for a Nato summit in Washington.

Talks over who should form a new government and who should lead the foreign, interior and finance ministries among others, are expected to be extremely difficult and lengthy given that political parties negotiating a deal have diametrically opposing policies and contempt for one another.

Jean-Didier Berger, a newly elected depute from the conservative Republicans party said: “We are in a situation that is totally unprecedented.”

Aurelien Rousseau, of the leftist coalition New Popular Front, arrives at the National Assembly
Aurelien Rousseau, of the leftist coalition New Popular Front, arrives at the National Assembly (Aurelien Morissard/AP)

Aurelien Rousseau, a newly elected lawmaker from the New Popular Front and former minister in Mr Macron’s government, acknowledged disagreements within the leftist alliance over the government formation but said the alliance could eventually reach an agreement.

“We need to build compromises, but we need to take time to discuss, to know what we agree on or disagree within the left,” Mr Rousseau said.

Another New Popular Front depute, Jerome Guedj of the French Socialists party, said the leftist alliance would not buckle under pressure to name its candidate for the next prime minister, who could govern alongside Mr Macron.

“This is a confusing moment (and) we’re not going to add anxiety, unnecessary division at a moment when we need to find the right path,” Mr Guedj said.

Political deadlock could have far-ranging implications for the war in Ukraine, global diplomacy and Europe’s economic stability. However, at least one leader said the results were a relief.

French people celebrate
A move by the left to counter the far right appeared to be successful (AP)

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, a former European Union Council head, wrote late Sunday on X: “In Paris enthusiasm, in Moscow disappointment, in Kyiv relief. Enough to be happy in Warsaw.”

According to official results, all three main blocs fell far short of the 289 seats needed to control the 577-seat National Assembly, the more powerful of France’s two legislative chambers.

The results showed just over 180 seats for the New Popular Front leftist coalition, which placed first, ahead of Mr Macron’s centrist alliance, with more than 160 seats.

Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally and its allies were restricted to third place, although their more than 140 seats were still way ahead of the party’s previous best showing of 89 seats in 2022.

Mr Macron has three years remaining on his presidential term.

In announcing his resignation, Mr Attal made clearer than ever his disapproval of Macron’s shock decision to call the election, saying: “I didn’t choose this dissolution” of the outgoing National Assembly, where the president’s centrist alliance used to be single biggest group, albeit without an absolute majority.

Rather than rallying behind Mr Macron as he had hoped, millions took the vote as an opportunity to vent anger about inflation, crime, immigration and other grievances – including his style of government.

The New Popular Front’s leaders immediately pushed Mr Macron to give them the first chance to form a government and propose a prime minister.

The faction pledges to roll back many of Mr Macron’s headline reforms, embark on a costly programme of public spending, and take a tougher line against Israel because of its war with Hamas.

But it is not clear, even among the left, who could lead the government without alienating crucial allies.

“We need someone who offers consensus,” said Olivier Faure, head of the Socialist Party, which joined the leftist coalition and was still sorting out how many seats it won on Monday.

Mr Macron warned that the left’s economic programme of many tens of billions of euro in public spending, partly financed by taxes on wealth and hikes for high earners, could be ruinous for France, already criticised by EU watchdogs for its debt.

Far-right National Rally party president Jordan Bardella
There was disappointment for far right National Rally party president Jordan Bardella (AP)

A hung parliament is unknown territory for modern France.

Despite the uncertainty, supporters on the left cheered in Republique plaza in eastern Paris when the first results came in, with people spontaneously hugging strangers and several minutes of nonstop applause.

The political agreement between the left and centre to block the National Rally was largely successful.

Many voters decided that keeping the far right from power was more important to them than anything else, backing its opponents in the run-off.

National Rally leader Ms Le Pen, who was expected to make a fourth run for the French presidency in 2027, said the elections laid the groundwork for “the victory of tomorrow”.

Racism and antisemitism marred the electoral campaign, along with Russian disinformation efforts, and more than 50 candidates reported being physically attacked.

Unlike other countries in Europe that are more accustomed to coalition governments, France does not have a tradition of legislators rom rival political camps coming together to form a majority.

France is also more centralised than many other European countries, with many more decisions made in Paris.