Even as exit polls suggested a surge in support for the left in Sunday’s second round of French elections, far-right party leader Jordan Bardella hailed “breakthrough” results for the National Rally (RN), which led the first round on June 30.

“The National Rally (RN) realized its most important breakthrough in its entire history,” party president Bardella told a news conference.

The leftwing alliance New Popular Front (NFP) could win 180 to 205 seats in the parliament’s lower chamber, the National Assembly, according to latest projections based on the surveying company Ifop’s estimations.

The centrist alliance, Together for the Republic, backed by Macron ranked second with 164 to 174 seats, while Marine Le Pen’s RN will get 130 to 145 seats.

He criticized the centrist bloc, backed by Macron, and the left-wing NFP for setting up “alliances of dishonor” and “dangerous electoral arrangements” that deprive the French citizens of a recovery policy that they voted for in the first round with around 34%.

“Tonight, those electoral deals throw France into the arms of Jean-Luc Melenchon’s far-left,” Bardella said.

He vowed that his party is only starting, and will intensify its efforts in the parliament.

The National Assembly has a total of 577 seats, and none of these three primary blocs are projected to get an absolute majority of 289 seats.

In the first round, 76 candidates were elected, without needing a second round.

The RN got 29.26% of the vote by itself (37 seats), a rate that rose to over 33% when combined with allies.

The NFP got 28.06% (32 seats), and the centrist Together for the Republic finished third with slightly over 20.04% (two seats).

Macron dissolved the parliament and announced early elections after the RN swept more than 31% of the vote in the European Parliament elections on June 9, defeating his centrist bloc.

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