Only far right can win absolute majority, French PM warns 

Paris — The far-right National Rally (RN) is the only party capable of winning an absolute majority in France’s legislative elections, Prime Minister Gabriel Attal said Wednesday, urging voters to block their rise to power.  

Attal admitted four days ahead of the polls that many French voters would have to hold their nose and vote for parties that they do not support in order to take control of the government.   

The RN dominated the first round of polls, presenting the party of Marine Le Pen with the prospect of forming the government and her protege Jordan Bardella, 28, taking the post of premier in a tense “cohabitation” with President Emmanuel Macron.   

But over 200 candidates from the left and the center this week dropped out of three-way races in the second round of the contest, sacrificing their hopes to prevent the RN winning the seat.   

“There is one bloc that is able to have an absolute majority (in the National Assembly) and it’s the extreme right,” Attal told France Inter radio.   

“On Sunday evening, what’s at stake in the second round is to do everything so that the extreme right does not have an absolute majority,” he added.   

“It is not nice for some French to have to block… by using a vote that they did not want to,” he said.  

“I say it’s our responsibility to do this,” he added.    

An absolute majority of 289 seats is needed in the 577 seat National Assembly for a party to form a government on its own. But Le Pen has said that the RN will try if it gets any more than 270 seats by winning over other deputies.   

“At the end of this second round, either power will be in the hands of a far-right government, or power will be in parliament. I am fighting for this second scenario,” said Attal.   

One option that is the subject of increasing media attention is the possibility that rather than a far-right government France could be ruled by a broad coalition of pro-Macron centrists, the traditional right, Socialists and Greens.   

But Attal was non-committal: “I did not speak about a coalition. I do not want to impose on the French a coalition that they did not choose.”   

Former prime minister Edouard Philippe, still an influential voice in the pro-Macron camp, told TF1 TV in his constituency on Sunday he would be voting for a Communist candidate to stop the far right.   

He said that after the election he would support a new parliamentary majority that could span “conservative right to the social democrats” but not include the hard-left France Unbowed (LFI). 

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