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The New French Politics

The French parliamentary election delivered a shock result, depriving President Emmanuel Macron of his absolute majority, and yielding an unprecedented number of seats to the far right. But whether the country is heading for an era of compromise or of gridlock remains to be seen.

PARIS – There is an old saying in French politics that people vote with their hearts in the first round of an election, and with their heads in the second. This dictum no longer holds. In this year’s national election, French citizens voted tactically from the start, supporting the candidates from their own bloc who were most likely to win. In the first round of the presidential election in April, this dynamic advanced the candidacies of Jean-Luc Mélenchon on the far left and Marine Le Pen on the far right, with President Emmanuel Macron holding the center. Now, the pattern has been repeated in France’s legislative elections.