France’s new Popular Front was formed to keep the far-right out of power.

As vote counting continued across France on Sunday night, one thing was clear: the left-wing coalition known as the New Popular Front performed better than expected, helping to thwart a far-right victory.

Projections suggest the coalition will have a strong lead and win several dozen seats, a major feat for a coalition formed only last month to keep the far-right National Rally party out of power.

The coalition includes four left-wing parties: the Communists, the Socialists, the Greens and the far-left party Indefatigable France. While many in France celebrated the defeat of the far-right, others feared what the far-left might bring.

Last week, after the first round of the two-round election, the coalition withdrew more than 130 candidates from three-way contests that the far-right could win, urging its supporters to strategically vote against far-right candidates.

The strategy appears to have been successful.

Despite the clear victory of the left, opinion polls showed that no party or coalition had won an absolute majority that would make it a likely candidate to form a government.

Yet Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the unyielding founder of France, a combative and divisive figure, was quick to declare that his party would not negotiate to form a coalition government, demanding instead that the left-wing coalition be given the mandate to govern and be able to implement its “entire program.”

Socialist party leader Olivier Faure also said he would not negotiate a coalition government.

“It would be a betrayal of the vote of the French people and would prolong Macron’s policies,” he said.

Some voters see the party, Indomitable France, which has members with suspected anti-Semitism, as just as dangerous as the far right, and some economists worry about its spending plans at a time when France is already struggling with debt.

The far-left’s proposed policies include raising France’s minimum wage by a month, lowering the legal retirement age from 64 to 60, building one million new low-cost housing units over five years, freezing the prices of basic necessities like food, energy and gas, etc. The government would also pay for all expenses related to a child’s education, including cafeteria meals, transportation and extracurricular activities.

Instead of drastically cutting immigration, as the far-right had promised, the coalition government promised to make asylum procedures more lenient and smoother.

The New Popular Front has pledged to raise the tens of billions of euros needed for its policies by taxing the wealthy.

“It’s time to tax the super-rich and super-profits,” Fall said to cheers Sunday night.

It is unclear which of the coalition leaders would be appointed prime minister if given the task of forming a government by President Emmanuel Macron.

Throughout four weeks of bitter election fighting, the leaders of three of the four parties insisted they did not want to be led by Mr Mélenchon..


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