France’s Snap Election Enters Its Final Hours

A contentious outcome with Mr. Macron as president and the National Rally leader, Jordan Bardella, as prime minister is possible, under what France calls a cohabitation.

France’s prime minister and cabinet are accountable to the lower house, and they determine the country’s policies. But they are appointed by the president, who has extensive executive powers and is directly elected by the public.

Usually, the president and prime minister are politically aligned. (Every five years, France holds presidential and legislative elections within weeks of each other, making it likely that voters will support the same party twice.) But when the presidency and the National Assembly are at odds, the president has little choice but to appoint a prime minister from an opposing party — or someone lawmakers won’t topple with a no-confidence vote.

Cohabitation has happened before, between mainstream left-wing and conservative leaders, from 1986 to 1988, 1993 to 1995, and 1997 to 2002. But a cohabitation between Mr. Macron, a pro-European centrist, and Mr. Bardella, a Euroskeptic nationalist, would be unprecedented.

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