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'What now?' What French and foreign media say about France's election shock

Genevieve Mansfield
Genevieve Mansfield - [email protected]
'What now?' What French and foreign media say about France's election shock
A picture shows the front pages of main Italian newspapers 'Il Messagero', 'La Repubblica', 'Corriere della Sera' and 'La Stampa' on July 8, 2024 a day after France's parliamentary elections. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)

From shock over the unexpected defeat of France's far-right to confusion over what happens next, here is what both French and foreign newspapers have been saying about Sunday's election results.

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France and the rest of the world were left stunned on Sunday night when the left alliance beat the far-right Rassemblement National (RN) party into third place. Meanwhile, President Emmanuel Macron's centrist alliance came second - all polling had predicted that the far-right would be the largest block in parliament.

READ MORE: What happens next in France after bombshell election results?

Voter turnout was the highest the country had seen in decades.

Nevertheless, the results mean that no party will hold an absolute majority in parliament, making the next steps - choosing a prime minister and actually governing - more challenging.

Here is what the French press has had to say about the historic night;

READ MORE: Explained: French newspapers, TV and magazines

Libération - The newspaper, known for its hard-hitting front pages and left-wing slant, used a photo of the huge crowd celebrating at Place de la République in Paris following the announcement of the results.

The headline reads "C'est Ouf", a slang expression in French akin to 'phew!' or 'wow' or 'it's crazy' and the short, explanatory lines below read "The left created an enormous surprise by arriving in first place in the parliamentary elections.

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"The 'front républicain' [alliance between the centre and left-wing to strategically block the far-right] was massively supported, sending the RN into third place. 

"Divided into three blocks, the Assemblée Nationale has no party in absolute majority".

Le Figaro - On the other side of the political spectrum, the right-leaning daily, Le Figaro, published a photo of Macron with the headline "The RN fails, the left towers over Macron".

The lines below read: "Arriving in third place, Marine Le Pen's party is the great loser of the vote. The NFP was victorious, and Ensemble [Macron's coalition] fared better than expected, similar to the traditional right-wing party, Les Republicains. 

"One month following the dissolution of parliament, the head of State finds himself, at the end of a trying democratic episode, faced with an ungovernable parliament."

Le Parisien - The front page for the Paris-based daily showed an image of Macron looking confused. The headline read "And now, what do we do?"

In small bullet points, the daily wrote: "Macron faces a headache in finding a prime minister; The left, the primary force of the parliament, and the challenge of unity; The RN suffers a setback but gains MPs; The presidential coalition, in search of allies, cuts its losses."

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Sud Ouest - The regional newspaper for south-western France included a photo of left-wing voters celebrating, with the headline 'The left in a position of power'.

The results of the French election have also created a buzz in the foreign press, with several including the news on their front pages.

Switzerland - As for France's neighbour, the newspaper of record in French (based in Geneva), Le Temps included France's election results on their front page on Monday. 

The headline read "France united against the far-right", alongside an image of left-wing voters celebrating in Lyon.

However, the column beside the lead article was titled "France turned upside down, but in a state of limbo".

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Italy - The Italian daily general-interest newspaper, La Repubblica, also used images of celebrations following the results with the headline 'French revolution'. 

The Italian newspaper La Stampa had a less celebratory tone, with the headline "Le Pen rejected, French chaos" (Respinta Le Pen, caos francese) on their front page.

Spain - The top story of the website for the El Pais newspaper was titled "France stops the far-right" (Francia frena a la ultraderecha) on Monday morning.

As for the newspaper El Mundo, the primary image on the front page included left-wing leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon with the headline "The far left calls for Macron to step aside after knocking out Le Pen" (La extrema izquierda pide paso a Macron tras tumbar a Le Pen).

Germany - The German newspaper Der Spiegel did not feature the French election as the top story on their homepage. Further down on their website, the first story on the subject was titled "Riots in several French cities after parliamentary elections (Ausschreitungen in mehreren französischen Städten nach Parlamentswahl). 

Meanwhile, the homepage of German daily Die Zeit started off with an image of a man waving a French flag with the headline "Who will save France?". 

UK - In the UK, the financial Financial Times' front page showed an image of Emmanuel Macron exiting a polling station with the headline "France's leftist alliance on track to halt rise of Le Pen's RN, polls show".

However, the bullets below were more skeptical, reading: "Far-right party thwarted; No bloc on track to govern alone; EU's second-largest economy in limbo".

As for the Guardian, the front page on Monday also featured the French election, with the headline "Surprise surge for left pushes French far right into third place."

The right-wing The Times newspaper featured the results on its front page with the headline 'Hard-left leader claims victory in French election shock'.

 

USA - Across the Atlantic, the American business and finance newspaper, the Wall Street Journal, ran the headline "France's left takes lead in parliament" on their front page, with the sub-heading "Far right, which won the first round, trails coalition and Macron in stunning reversal."

The top story on the website of another business media company, Bloomberg, read "France in Limbo With Macron Due at NATO This Week".

The New York Times' French election story, also featured on their front page, was titled "French election yields deadlock as left surges". 

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