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'Phew!': Montreal's French nationals relieved by election results

French nationals in Montreal are relieved by the results of the legislative elections. In this photo, Rassemblement National president Jordan Bardella after the first round on June 30, 2024, in Paris (AP Photo/Aurelien Morissard). French nationals in Montreal are relieved by the results of the legislative elections. In this photo, Rassemblement National president Jordan Bardella after the first round on June 30, 2024, in Paris (AP Photo/Aurelien Morissard).
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Montreal's French nationals welcomed the results of the second round of legislative elections with a sigh of relief.

Those gathered at the Union française to attend the unveiling with their compatriots feared that the Rassemblement national (RN) would finish on top, as in the initial round, and that Jordan Bardella would become the new Prime Minister.

They were reassured by the sudden rise of the coalition of left-wing parties, the Nouveau Front Populaire (NFP), which defeated all its opponents, against all the odds.

Beyond this victory, it was above all the RN's defeat that delighted the French voters interviewed by The Canadian Press.

"Phew! I have tears in my eyes. I was scared, nothing was won, but now I'm so happy! I would have been frankly ashamed of my country," said an emotional Chantal Perret, surrounded by French immigrants of all ages, including a few children.

"It's a relief," added her husband, Pierre Théveret. "We're really happy for our children and grandchildren. It's extraordinary. A RN victory would have been dramatic."

All that mattered to the couple was that the residents of Hexagone were not lining up in the majority behind the RN.

"The left, the right, but not them (the RN), they're against everything," said Perret, a septuagenarian from Paris. "France is freedom and human rights."

Her wish was granted, as Marine Le Pen's party had to settle for third place. According to projections, the RN will win between 113 and 148 seats when all the votes are counted, a process that could last until Monday.

The NFP is in first place (between 178 and 205), followed by President Emmanuel Macron's coalition (between 157 and 174).

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on July 7, 2024.  

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