‘We were so scared’: France’s centrist and leftwing voters breathe sigh of relief

‘We were so scared’: France’s centrist and leftwing voters breathe sigh of relief

The Guardian reports:

A nervous energy rippled through the crowd gathered at Lyon’s Place de la République. As the final polls closed in the most momentous election in recent memory, hundreds of people milled about, waiting to find out what would lie in store for France.

Just after 8pm, Florent Martins came running through the plaza, mobile phone in hand. “We won,” the 23-year-old yelled out, his voice shaking with disbelief as those around him exploded into cheers and hearty applause. “The left won!”

Exit polls on Sunday suggested that a broad leftwing alliance was on track to become the biggest force in the French parliament in a shock win, with the New Popular Front predicted to take 177–187 seats, according to projections by Ipsos pollsters for the French public broadcaster.

Emmanuel Macron’s centrist grouping, Ensemble, was in second place, projected to take 152–163 seats, a loss of up to 100 seats but a stronger showing than expected. Marine Le Pen’s far-right, anti-immigration National Rally (RN) was predicted to come third with 134–152 seats, along with its allies on the right.

“It’s so good,” said Martins. “I’ve been in a panic all day.” Nearby, Veronique Leporte, 69, described the results as stunning. “It’s a huge relief,” she said. “We were so scared.”

It was a sentiment echoed across the country. In Paris cries of joy rang out as the projections sparked spontaneous hugs among strangers and several minutes of applause. [Continue reading…]

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