French left set to choose prime ministerial candidate in a week

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France’s left-wing alliance that emerged as surprise winners in early parliamentary elections is set to choose its candidate for prime minister within a week, the leader of the Socialist Party said. Olivier Fauré and other top party officials on Monday.

The New Popular Front (NFP) alliance consists of the Socialists, the Greens, the Communists and Jean-Luc MélenchonThe far left of France is unscathed.

President Emmanuel Macron called the early polls on June 9. The NFP was launched shortly before the first round of the National Assembly elections on June 30. The short time to prepare meant that the alliance did not enter the elections with a leading candidate.

“We should be able to nominate a candidate within a week” for the post of prime minister, Faure told broadcaster France Info.

He said a decision must be made quickly to show the public that the alliance is ready to govern. Faure said the candidate could be chosen by consensus among party officials or by party votes.

Mathilde Panot, leader of France Unbowed, told broadcaster RTL that the NFP will present a prime minister and government this week. She believes that veteran far-left Mélenchon, the controversial founder of France Unbowed, is still in the running.

In an interview with France Inter, Green Party leader Marine Tondelier called for a consensus decision, adding that it is much more important to agree on policy than on the person who will become prime minister.

Official results released Monday by the Interior Ministry showed the NFP won Sunday’s second round of elections, with Macron’s centrist Ensemble (Together) bloc coming in second.

Marine Le Pen’s far-right nationalist Rassemblement National (RN), initially seen as the favourite after the first round of voting, finished third, the ministry said, without placing all elected lawmakers into any of the main camps.

Lawmakers have until July 18 to form their parliamentary groups.

Since neither camp has an outright majority, efforts to form a government will focus on exploring possible alliances and convincing individual MPs from other groups.

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