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Rioting erupted in Paris last night as thousands of angry voters set fire to rubbish, smashed shop windows, and launched fireworks after the far-right National Rally surged to victory in the first

round of snap parliamentary elections.

Riot police were deployed across the city, especially in the Place de la République, where clashes with rioters carrying flares continued into the early morning hours.

Marine Le Pen's far-right National Rally (RN) secured approximately 33% of the vote, according to the Interior Ministry, followed by the left-wing New Popular Front alliance with 28%. Incumbent President Emmanuel Macron's centrist alliance trailed in a distant third with just 20%.

Le Pen joyfully announced last night that Macron's party had been 'wiped out' as she celebrated the victory. The RN is now preparing for the second and final round of elections on July 7.

If the far-right wins an absolute majority in the second round, Macron would be compelled to appoint 28-year-old RN President Jordan Bardella as his Prime Minister.

Demonstrators gathered in Place de la République to protest the rising right-wing movement after the RN's victory in the first round. Tensions escalated as protesters overturned barricades, climbed the iconic statue of Marianne, and set fires.

Many French voters are frustrated with inflation and other economic issues, as well as Macron's leadership, which is seen by many as arrogant and out-of-touch. The National Rally has capitalized on this discontent, especially through social media platforms like TikTok, and proposed populist policies aimed at revitalizing the French economy and cracking down on immigration.

Despite the victory, it remains uncertain if Le Pen's party will win an absolute majority of seats in the National Assembly in the July 7 second round. The second round will see run-off votes in seats without an absolute majority, determining the final composition of the National Assembly.

An RN victory would mark the first time the far-right has held power in France since the Nazi occupation during WWII. The last far-right leaders of France were Philippe Pétain and Pierre Laval, who led the Vichy regime that collaborated with the Nazis.

Gabriel Attal, France's current Prime Minister, urged voters to block the RN in the second round, stating, "Not a single vote should go to the National Rally in such circumstances. France deserves that we do not hesitate. Never."

However, a triumphant Le Pen stated that the RN is finally preparing for power for the first time in its history. Speaking from her constituency of Hénin-Beaumont, where she was elected to parliament without needing a second round, Le Pen declared: "In democracy, nothing is healthier than political change. We need an absolute majority for Jordan Bardella to be appointed prime minister by Emmanuel Macron. I call on you to join the coalition of freedom, security, and unity. No French person will lose rights – hope is reborn!". Photo by Blandine Le Cain, Wikimedia commons.