Ex-President Hollande, left lawmakers start talks to cobble together govt in France

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PARIS: Former Socialist President Francois Hollande and other newly elected lawmakers from the leftist coalition made a grand entrance on Tuesday at the National Assembly for talks seeking to cobble together a government after chaotic voting results left them with the most seats, but no absolute majority.

Sunday’s vote left no faction even close to the majority needed to form a government, raising the risk of paralysis for the European Union’s second-largest economy. The legislature is now split between the leftist coalition, Macron’s centrist allies and the far-right National Rally.

While a fractured parliament is not uncommon in Europe, the situation is unprecedented in France’s modern history.

Leaders of the leftist coalition, the New Popular Front, which received the most votes, say they should form a new government. The three main parties in the coalition – the hard-left France Unbowed, the Socialists and the Greens – began negotiations to find a candidate for prime minister.

Hollande, who was France’s president from 2012 to 2017, joined other members of his Socialist party in front of dozens of journalists. He did not speak at his arrival at the National Assembly.

He made an unexpected comeback on the French political stage in recent weeks as one of the most prominent candidates in the elections, winning a seat in his hometown of Tulle in southwestern France.

He’s now seen as a key player in politics as both the leftist coalition and President Emmanuel Macron’s centrists are taking steps to try to form a government.

The New Popular Front “is the leading Republican force in this country and it is therefore its responsibility to form a government … to implement the public policies expected by the French people,” Green lawmaker Cyrielle Chatelain said.