AP PHOTOS: France celebrates after coalition of leftist parties thwarts far-right’s push for power

PARIS (AP) — The unexpected fireworks lit up Paris’s Place de la Republique.

For the thousands of French people who took to the streets on Sunday to celebrate the results of a parliamentary run-off vote, the outcome was a big relief.

For the leaders of the leftist New Popular Front coalition that unexpectedly thwarted the far-right’s advance, it was time to celebrate. Olivier Faure, the leader of the Socialist Party, clenched his fist during his victory speech after the final round of voting.

The founder of hard-left party France Unbowed, Jean-Luc Melenchon, pledged to implement all his campaign promises. Easier said than done, critics said, with the country now facing a hung Parliament after none of the main groups was able to gather a majority of 289 seats to govern alone.

After polls suggested ahead of Sunday’s voting that the far-right was at the gate to power for the first time since World War II, the victory of the New Popular Front came as a surprise.

While far-right supporters stayed at home, others gathered outside to celebrate the rejection of Marine Le Pen’s anti-immigration National Rally party. On Paris’ Place de la Republique, people chanted together, waved blue-white-red flags and lit fireworks. There were also a few tensions and some bicycles were burned during the night, but no major incidents were reported.

And it was not just Paris which celebrated. Demonstrators waved French flags and set off smoke flares in the western city of Nantes, while In Lyon, two women sat on either side of a large rose, a longstanding symbol of the Socialist Party.

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