The second round of France’s National Assembly Elections revealed an unexpected surprise: a victory for the leftist New Popular Front. The NFP, launched in June 2024, is an electoral alliance between several left-leaning parties to thwart the rise of Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally (RN). RN led in the first round of elections and is now in third place, below President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist Ensemble, which is in second place, losing its majority.

Macron’s party lost control of parliament after he dissolved the national assembly and called for a snap election in June because of their massive loss to the RN in the European Parliament. What Macron, a centrist, was not betting on, however, is how left the electorate would go to stop the rise of fascism in France.

With no party securing a majority, a hung parliament is the result. What does this mean? It means that the three dominant parties will have to engage in negotiations to form a government. The NFP, with 182 seats (a party needs 289 for a majority), is poised to lead the negotiations. France Unbowed leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon has called for Prime Minister Gabriel Attal’s resignation, stating that the NPF is prepared to govern France. France Unbowed, the largest single party within the NFP, won 74 seats in Sunday’s vote.

Attal has offered to hand in his resignation to Macron on Monday, adding that if his resignation is refused, he will stay on “as long as duty requires.” It’s unknown if he’ll still be in the position when the Paris Olympics begin on 26 July. 

The United Kingdom has a new prime minister. Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour Party achieved a landslide victory in the 2024 General Elections. The party has taken 412 seats, giving it a majority of 174. The outgoing Conservative Party received their worst result in terms of seats in history: 121 seats. 

Starmer met King Charles on Friday morning and accepted the King’s invitation to form a new government. He has already set up his cabinet, which is made up of 22 Labour MPs. 

In his first speech as prime minister, Starmer thanked outgoing PM Rishi Sunak and said his party would work for all citizens. 

“But whether you voted Labour or not – in fact, especially if you did not – I say to you directly: My government will serve you. Politics can be a force for good – we will show that. And that is how we will govern. Country first, party second,” he said. 

Starmer said that his government would focus on rebuilding the UK, focusing on public servants. “Nurses, builders, drivers, carers, people doing the right thing, working harder than ever, have been recognised at moments like this before.

Yet, as soon as the cameras stop rolling, their lives are ignored. I want to say very clearly to those people – not this time,” he said. 

While this might look like a shift to the left for the UK, Starmer has been called “Tory-lite” and is more Macron than Jeremy Corbyn, who has criticised Starmer before. So, while France has defeated the far-right, the Labour Party and its policies are more centrist. Starmer has said that his government, unlike the Tories, would be “unburdened by doctrine” and guided only by a determination to serve the interests of the people of the UK.

President Cyril Ramaphosa congratulated Starmer, and the two have expressed an interest in deepening relations between the two countries in several areas of cooperation.