French left poised to pick candidate for prime minister within week

Paris, July 8, (dpa/GNA) – The French left-wing alliance that emerged as the surprise victor in snap parliamentary elections, is poised to choose its candidate for prime minister within a week, Socialist Party leader Olivier Faure, and other top party officials said on Monday.

The New Popular Front (NFP) alliance consists of the Socialists, the Greens, the Communists and Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s hard-left France Unbowed.

President Emmanuel Macron called the early polls on June 9. The NFP was launched shortly before the first round of elections for the National Assembly on June 30. The short window to prepare meant that the alliance, did not go into the elections with a lead candidate.

“We must be in a position to present a candidate” for the post of prime minister within a week, Faure told the broadcaster France Info.

He said a quick decision must be made, in order to show the public that the alliance is ready to govern. Faure said the candidate could be picked by a consensus among party officials, or through party votes.

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

In an interview with France Inter, Green Party leader Marine Tondelier argued in favour of a consensus decision. She added it was far more important to agree on policies, than the person who will hold the premiership.

Official results released by the Interior Ministry on Monday, showed the NFP winning Sunday’s run-off election. Macron’s centrist Ensemble (Together) bloc came in second place.

Marine Le Pen’s far-right nationalist National Rally (RN), initially seen as the favourite after the first round of voting, came third, the ministry said, without allocating all elected lawmakers to one of the main camps.

The lawmakers have until July 18 to form their parliamentary groups.

As none of the camps have an absolute majority, efforts to form a government will be focussed on sounding out possible alliances, and winning over individual members of parliament (MPs) from other groups.