Dans le cadre de l'élection présidentielle des 10 & 24 avril 2022 : Réunion publique de Jean-Luc Mélenchon, au Palais de la Musique et des Congrès de Strasbourg, le 19 janvier 2022.By Thomas Bresson - Own work, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=116819480

New Popular Front (NPF), a coalition of left-wing parties formed a month ago to block the rise of the French right, won the most seats in the French parliament in the second round of national elections on Sunday.

While the hastily cobbled-together coalition, with help from French President Emmanuel Macron’s centrists, succeeded in reversing last week’s first-round results, in which the right’s National Rally (NR) finished first, observers say it consigns France to political deadlock.

None of the three electoral groups emerged with anything approaching a clear majority in the National Assembly. NPF took 182 seats, Macron’s Ensemble coalition 163 seats and NR 143 seats.

To form a stable government, a party needs an absolute majority of 289 seats.

NR leader Marine Le Pen told the press following the vote, “The quagmire that I warned about has, of course, come true. France will be totally blocked with three groups that have more or less the same influence in the National Assembly.”

Le Pen lamented the setback but said, “Our victory has merely been delayed,” suggesting the right’s ascent to power is inevitable. “The tide is rising, but it didn’t rise quite high enough this time,” she said.

“We’re losing one more year, one more year of unregulated immigration, one more year of losing purchasing power, one more year of an explosion of insecurity in our country. But if we need to go through that, then we’ll go through that,” she said.

Le Pen, who had spent years shedding NR’s extremist, antisemitic past, to the point of ejecting her own father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, the party’s former leader, has undertaken to reach out to Jews.

Her protege, Jordan Bardella, 28, who serves as party president, has repeatedly made pro-Israel and pro-Jewish statements since the Oct. 7 Hamas massacre.

France has been thrown into “uncertainty and instability,” said Bardella, who had been on the cusp of becoming France’s prime minister.

Macron’s centrist party played a key role in torpedoing NR by strategizing with the left-wing coalition to pull more than 200 candidates from races in which there were three opponents to avoid splitting the anti-NR vote.

Given the rise of antisemitism on the left, French Jews reportedly felt betrayed by Macron’s move.

Bardella termed it a “disgraceful alliance.”

The left-wing coalition comprises France Unbowed, the Green Party, the Socialist Party and the Communist Party. France Unbowed is led by Jean-Luc Mélenchon, 72, who has been accused of making antisemitic statements.

When France reported a 300% increase in antisemitic attacks in the first three months of 2024, Mélanchon said French antisemitism was “residual.”

Just two weeks after the Oct. 7 attack, Mélanchon accused Yael Braun-Pivet, the Jewish president of the National Assembly, then paying a solidarity visit to Israel, of “camping out in Tel Aviv to encourage the massacre.”

Mélanchon’s party has condemned Israel’s Gaza operation as “genocide” and he has refused to call Hamas a terrorist group.

Prominent French Jews issued warnings following the left’s victory.

Public intellectual Bernard-Henri Lévy tweeted on Sunday: “The Left has once again fallen prey to the infamous Mélenchon. Surrounding him now are some of the new faces of antisemitism. A chilling moment indeed. Our sole mission: to persist in the struggle against these individuals.”

French-Jewish journalist Yohann Taieb tweeted, “Mélenchon’s victory is a terrible signal of impunity sent to anti-Jewish Islamo-leftists.”

French-Jewish intellectual Yana Grinshpun, who frequently lectures on French antisemitism and hosts an online talk show, “Perditions-ideologiques,” expressed pessimism about France’s future, telling JNS:

“It was a terrible moment yesterday for all French patriots and the Jewish community. Mélenchon’s discourse immediately after the victory of the left reminded me of Hitler’s howls in 1933. France is on its way to cultural, political and economic decline.

“The Islamization of the country will continue. France is already a third world country. It will go deeper and deeper toward the darkness of chaos and antisemitism.”

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