Leftists beat far right in France’s snap parliamentary election.  @JLMelenchon

On Sunday, the French left pulled off a major upset in the legislative elections, coming first ahead of the Macronist bloc and relegating the favourite, Marine Le Pen's far-right, to third place.

The New Popular Front (NFP) of socialists, communists, ecologists and the more radical Ligue Française Indépendante (LFI) came first, with between 195 and 208 deputies (including left-wing independents).

The three-party Macronist bloc won 161 to 169 seats, a significant drop from its previous 250, but much less than predicted in the first round.  And third place went to the far-right National Rally (RN), which had been the overwhelming favourite after its first-round victory and the polls published up to Friday, but fell to 135-143.

But the unpredictable political map left behind by the second round foresees a very divided National Assembly with no clear majorities, meaning that France's governability is entering a very uncertain phase, all the more so in a country with no tradition of coalitions or alliances.

In an assembly of 577 deputies, the absolute majority is 289, a figure that can only be achieved through pacts that now seem unlikely given the Macronist and conservative veto on the LFI, which will have more than 80 deputies.

The leader of the French radical left, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, called on President Emmanuel Macron to appoint a prime minister from the left alliance, saying that the results "confirm the defeat of the president and his coalition" and asked him "not to try to escape this defeat with excuses".

The leader of the contested left said that the head of government must come from the New Popular Front, the left-wing coalition that his party, the radical La France Insoumise, has formed with socialists, communists and ecologists. "And he must implement his programme and only his programme," insisted Mélenchon, who refused to negotiate with Macron's coalition.

French President Emmanuel Macron will take time to study the results of Sunday's legislative elections and the structure of the new National Assembly in order to decide on the government to be formed.

Sources in the Elysée said that Macron "will wait for the structure of the new National Assembly to take the necessary decisions" and that "in his role as guarantor of the institutions, he will ensure that the sovereign decision of the French people is respected".

Prime Minister Gabriel Attal said he will submit his resignation to Macron, but was open to leading a caretaker government because of the "unprecedented political situation" and the fact that France opens the Paris Olympics in less than three weeks.

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen lamented her party's defeat in Sunday's legislative elections, but pointed out that it had doubled its support, which she said "lays the foundations for future victory".

Jordan Bardella, prime ministerial candidate for the far-right National Rally (RN) - which came third in the French election - accused French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday of leaving the country "in the arms of the extreme left of (Jean Luc) Mélenchon".