2024 France election live updates: Prime Minister Attal plans to resign as projections show leftists lead

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Unlike other countries in Europe that are more accustomed to coalition governments, France doesn’t have a tradition of lawmakers from rival political camps coming together to form a working majority.

The captain of France’s national team, Kylian Mbappé, had urged young people to vote and warned against “extremes” at a time when the far right seeks to take power in the parliamentary elections.

For many National Rally voters, last Sunday’s victory is revenge on a political class that they see as out of touch with everyday people and their concerns including crime, purchasing power and immigration.

More than a dozen reports issued in the past year point to an intensifying effort from Russia to undermine France, particularly the upcoming Olympic Games, and President Emmanuel Macron, who is one of Ukraine’s most vocal supporters in Europe.

French voters face a decisive choice in the runoff of snap parliamentary elections that could see the country’s first far-right government since the World War II Nazi occupation — or no majority emerging at all.

Official results suggest Marine Le Pen’s anti-immigration, nationalist party National Rally stands a good chance of winning a majority in the lower house of parliament for the first time, but the outcome remains uncertain amid the complex voting system and political tactics.


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23 Comments

FelixCress

Far right lost in Poland, far right lost in the UK and now far right lost in France. I sincerely hope USA will follow.

TransplantedSconie

I hope so. The Project 2025 dude saying they will be shooting people with in 180 days of Trumps election caused a bit of a stir

felsiq

Could I get a source on this please? I’ve read that horseshit plan and this doesn’t seem outside the realm of possibility, but a quick search didn’t turn up anything relevant

mosiacmango , edited

The head of the heritage foundation, the "think tank" that wrote project 2025, said "we are in a second revolutionary war, and there won't be any violence if the left doesn't interfere."

Rephrasing that slightly by taking out the "weasel word" double negatives, it works out to be "there will be violence if the left interferes." Since the plan is supposed to be executed in 180 days, I expect the commenter above is taking the guys comments to their implied conclusion.

Deceptichum

Now if only we can get the right to lose as well. This 'centrist' (right) shit keeps leading us all directly back to far-right behaivour.

Sanctus

It would appear Macron lost his gambit. The French continue to amaze me. We could learn a lot from their people.

xakiv

Hi. Prime minister does not 'plan' to resign after projections... This is what is traditionally done after the democratic protocol... the current assembly was challenged... a new assembly was elected regarding the results, and a new prime minister will be appointed...

Victor

...

Here let me dust these up for you 🧹

huginn

He could refuse to resign and be expelled by the majority

NataliePortland

Prime Minister Attal? I thought that was Macron?

Can someone ELI5 this system of government for me. I’m in the US where I’ve got a pretty good grasp on our Democratic Republic but I get a little confused by places that have President and Prime Minister. Also what does it mean when they say something like “Keir Starmer will try to form a government….”

enigmaticmandrill

I am French, so I am not going to answer to the last part about Keir Starmer, but I can help with your first question.

The executive branch of the French government is two-headed, with a President and a Prime Minister.

The President is the head of state, as such they are elected by universal suffrage, and are viewed as an arbitrator. The President is the commander in chief of the French military, and acts as the head of the French diplomacy.

The Prime Minister is the chief of the government. The PM is nominated by the President, to form a government or cabinet of several ministers. Together they are responsible, before the parliament, of implementing policies in the best interest of the nation. The parliament can revoke the PM and its government.

That's where it gets messy :

if the parliament's majority party is the presidential party, then the President can nominate a political ally as Prime Minister, and in practice, the center of gravity of the President-Prime Minister couple will move towards the president, who will be free to enact his policies.

However, if the majority party in the parliament is opposed to the President, then the President can only nominate a PM from the majority, otherwise the parliament will promptly revoke the PM. This situation is called a cohabitation, and it happened only 3 times under the 5th French republic. With a President and PM in opposition, the center of gravity is usually tilted towards the PM.

Now what happens when there is no clear majority party or coalition in the parliament? That has never happened before, not at the scale we are witnessing today. And there are no clear guidelines : presumably, the President will nominate a PM from the party that came out in the lead in these parliamentary election. But if all the other parties reject the new PM, they could oust them. A multi-party coalition could be created to reach the absolute majority, but lately the major political formations have been sternly opposed.

The coming days are going to be very interesting, and a good stress-test for our institutions.

NataliePortland , edited

Okay that clears up a lot. So if the President manages military and foreign relations, does the PM manage bureaus? Who creates the budget?

Merci! This is well written. Good luck to you!

Enoril , edited

The election goal of today (2nd turn) and last week (1st turn) was to elect members of the parlement. You have people with local needs, views, representating people from all around the country. We vote for someone that will represent us in front of the governement.

They are the source of any new laws, voted in this parlement then validated in the senate (another set of people, usually older... Sound familiar for our US readers? Normal, USA copied our way of working when creating the country... with some variations and interruption of course...). They also create and vote the budget (including the army budget btw).The prime minister give the direction of the parlement laws.

Usually the majority of the parlement and the prime minister are aligned because they represent the party big lines. Today we had a big shift of direction (party) so the whole governement (PM + Ministers except the president) need to be reworked as they are no more aligned with the parlement just elected. Staying will bring nothing but eternal obstruction and lack of legitimacy.

And usually the president, elected directly by us in another election, make sure his parlement is aligned with him. Macron tried that with the dissolution but got the complete opposite result at the end.

Frenchs don’t like when a president try a "technicality" (the dissolution) to gain more power and bring nazi in power as a side effect

It was a huge risk, playing with our institution, and it was also obvious - when he announced it - that he will loose even more.

He probably tried to get us vote for his party to block the nazi like the last time... But as he didn’t followed his own vow since the last election..

For additional context: The nigth of the previous election, when we were doing another barrage against the nazi and elected him as a consequence, he told us "i own you my victory and won’t forget it". He even did worst, shitting on the face of the people who did the barrage instead of being moderate.

well, he lost his bet

But i won’t be surprised if he continue to even be more silly before the end of his term. I expect another dissolution in one year or him leaving the position...

Ps: Thanks to the candidate of Macron party (arrived 3rd last week in my town) who didn’t put her name on the 2nd turn to make sure the nazi (arrived 1st in my town -_-) couldn’t win. Having only one candidate against the nazi make us win our local election.

At least, some people know where to draw a line between republic and politics

enigmaticmandrill

The closest thing we have to American bureaus are ministries and "secrétariats d'état", and yes they are managed by the PM.

The budget is created by the government, under the PM's management, and ratified by the parliament.

inlandempire , edited

President =/= Prime minister in France

The president is elected during the presidential elections, he then appoints (a nomination) his prime minister, who will be the head of the government, and in turn nominates his ministers.

It is common (but not the law) to appoint a prime minister that is from the party that has the parliament majority (through parliament elections that happen after the presidential elections)... Or whenever the president dissolves the parliament prompting new parliament elections. This is what happened here after the results of the European elections).

If the parliament disagrees with the nominated prime minister, they can hold a "No confidence vote" which forces the nomination of a new prime minister if it passes. So it's not easy to be prime minister because you have to be "accepted" by the parliament. iirc last year the left tried 3 times to vote a no confidence in the previous prime minister, and was very close to succeed every time.

Usually the president is in charge of international affairs, and the prime minister of the national affairs, but we french have a hard on for king-like figures of state, so the president is kind of seen as the most important person in the government. The prime minister is mostly just his lap dog, a yes man that follows his orders 🥲

[deleted] , edited

It's fascinating how Germany has a very similar separation of powers between the President and the Chancellor, on paper.
The President is the most powerful person in the country, officially. They can veto any law, dissolve the parliament, call for re-elections and nominate the Chancellor.
But in reality and by convention, the President's entire job is to shake hands, and give new-years eve speeches about putting the country's well-being above party politics, which are universally applauded, then ignored.

If a President were to actually use their powers to their full extent, it would trigger a constitutional crisis. They're simply not supposed to do that.

catloaf

Sounds like how it was supposed to be in the US, until Congress gradually ceded authority to the executive branch. Which is good in terms of executive agencies like the EPA, but not good in terms of actually running the country itself long-term. Glad to hear it's working in Germany, at least for now. Hopefully you guys don't elect a president from AfD or whatever, because you'd probably end up with problems like ours.

MelastSB

The President is elected by the people, what you call popular vote I believe. The President then nominates the Prime Minister from whatever party holds the majority in the Parliament. In this election, it isn't the presidential party that got the majority, so Attal (the exiting Prime Minister from the presidential party) resigns.

Macron could also resign I guess, since it was his idea to dissolve the Parliament in the first place, but it's pretty uncommon.

Note that this is for the French system. Starmer is British and has to deal with whatever dumbster fire of a system they have on his side of the Channel

NataliePortland

Thank you for the reply. Can you explain the bit about ‘dissolve the Parliament’? What does that entail?

Skunk , edited

The parliament is elected from the 577 "circonscriptions", or small bit of continental and non continental France + French living abroad, as seen on this map. They represent all of France in front of the government, they vote for or against laws at a national level. They do not take care of any local politic.

Normally the parliament is elected every 5 years, a few weeks after the presidential election so the president can have a parliament on the same side as his.

But the among the president powers, he can dissolve the parliament, so those 577 deputies are sent home and a new election takes place. It is usually done to have the same political party everywhere so passing new laws is easy.

As the government (prime minister and ministers) generally comes from the most represented party in the parliament, if the majority shifts to another party then the prime minister have to resign (all his ministers are included) and a new government will be made from the new majority (in today’s case, the left, even if the president is central-right).

The president have to wait one year before dissolving the parliament again. So he could technically dissolve it again until the next presidential election in 2027.

So for today it means that the PM and his government have to resign (which is done). The president will then have to choose a new PM from the leading party at the parliament (left Front Populaire) and will have to work with a government not agreeing with him.

It is named a cohabitation, between a right side president and left side government, which by itself is not such a big deal as countries like Switzerland works like that, a perpetual compromise between various political views. But France (or US, or ???) is not used to that, so this could lead to a government achieving nothing cause every political side will vote laws according to their own views and nothing is accepted.

Rob , edited

Macron is the president and head of state. He’s elected directly by the citizens of France.

Attal is (was) the prime minister and head of government. He’s appointed by the president but needs majority support in parliament.

“To form a government” usually means that someone is tasked by the head of state (president or king) to come up with a group of people (cabinet) that has majority support in the house(s) of parliament. That’s easy for Starmer when Labour has a majority. In other countries like the Netherlands, Germany, or Italy, that usually requires a coalition.

That will now also be the case in France.

Takapapatapaka

Hello, did not understand everything so sorry in advance if i say anything dumb In France, we have a President, elected by every adult citizen. In theory, he does not lead the country, and chooses a Prime Minister for this task, who then comes up with a government. In practice though, the President (Macron for now) has a lot more power over the PM because he can revoke and name another Prime Minister. And as the Assembly also have the power to revoke PM, President generally chooses someone that the majority in the Assembly will accept, to avoid instability. So currently, Macron is the President and holds practical power over politics, Prime Minister is currently Attal, and is kinda the second in hand of Macron, and as the Assembly seems to change right now, Macron will probably choose someone else as PM, probably someone from the left.

Uruanna , edited

President is elected, assembly is elected, president picks a prime minister among the majority party in the assembly (hopefully the same as his own, since the assembly gets to confirm the pick), prime minister picks a government (picks the ministers in their own party) with the president's blessings. In case the majority party is opposite the president, the president doesn't get much of a choice, as we know the majority party will only accept ministers on their side.

When the assembly is reelected, the prime minister typically offers their resignation regardless of the results (we are here), and the president can accept it or refuse it (we expect Macron to refuse, or at least delay it until the end of the Olympics, which makes the most sense, but Attal will almost certainly be gone after the Olympics). Then a new government is formed. A prime minister usually gets a couple governments under their belt until the president gets a new prime minister. Attal got shafted by the early dissolution since he was only here for a few months.