Monday Briefing


France faced a hung Parliament and deep political uncertainty after snap legislative elections yesterday left none of the three main political groups of the left, center and right with an absolute majority.

The left-wing New Popular Front came in first, with 178 seats, President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist coalition was in second place with 150 seats, and the National Rally, Marine Le Pen’s anti-immigrant party, and its allies took 142 seats.

The preliminary results upended widespread predictions of a clear victory for the National Rally. A scramble by centrists and the left to form a “Republican front” to stymie the National Rally in the second round of voting seems to have worked. Candidates across France had dropped out of three-way races and called for unity against Le Pen’s party.

The election was a major blow to Macron, who lost more than a third of the seats held by his party and its allies. He is left with a deeply divided lower house of Parliament, no governing coalition immediately likely and the Paris Olympics set to open in less than three weeks. Here’s what might come next.

Details: The New Popular Front campaigned on raising the monthly minimum wage, lowering the legal retirement age, reintroducing a wealth tax and freezing the price of energy and gas. Instead of cutting immigration, as the National Rally vowed, the alliance said it would improve the asylum process. Read more about the alliance.

For more: Why some rural voters became National Rally supporters.


Nine months after the devastating Hamas-led attack of Oct. 7, Israelis yesterday mounted a nationwide day of anti-government protests. The demonstrations brought traffic to a standstill, as protesters called for new elections in Israel and for a cease-fire deal with Hamas that would return hostages from months of captivity.

Progress has been made for the resumption of talks, even as the fighting continues in Gaza, where an Israeli strike hit in the area of a U.N. school on Saturday. But many Israelis fear that a truce could be torpedoed not only by Hamas, but also by Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, who, they say, might prioritize his political survival over a deal that could threaten it.

At the border: Israel’s northern border remained volatile, with the Lebanese Hezbollah organization firing salvos of rockets, drones and anti-tank missiles into Israeli territory.

In Rafah: The Israeli military invited journalists into the Gazan city on a supervised visit. Adam Goldman, a Times reporter, described devastation and “a maze of rubble.”


At least four senior House Democrats told colleagues on a private call yesterday that it was time for President Biden to end his campaign, reflecting mounting panic among top Democrats about the viability of his candidacy, according to people who were present for the session.

A growing number of Democrats from across the party’s ideological spectrum are calling for Biden to drop out of the race, amid questions about his age, mental acuity and fitness for office. Some donors have grown skittish, and insiders worry that the Biden campaign’s strategy — making the 2024 contest a referendum on Donald Trump — has been sidetracked by the president’s poor debate performance.

Biden: The president has defiantly swatted away suggestions that he leave the race, and he spent yesterday in Philadelphia, seeking to reassure voters who helped him win in 2020 that he is still capable of beating Trump.

The Orient Express conjures up visions of a five-star luxury train with every Belle Époque bell and whistle. A sleeper on the modern version can cost nearly $50,000, but you can D.I.Y. the trip from Paris to Istanbul — private compartments included — for less than $1,000. Our correspondent tested the ride.

Lives Lived: Jon Landau, an Oscar-winning producer and longtime collaborator of the director James Cameron, has died at 63.

The Paris Olympics this month could be the hottest in history. Training for the Games is now as much about athletes’ ability to handle the heat as it is about their strength and speed, and the best preparation is training for two to three weeks in sweltering temperatures.

Some runners use a heat-retaining garment one coach described as a “marshmallow suit” to approximate those conditions. Belgium’s field hockey team trained in a heat chamber set to 122 degrees Fahrenheit (50 Celsius). Other athletes try to stay cool by wearing ice vests before races or clutching frozen balloons. See how they’re preparing for extreme temperatures.

That’s it for today’s briefing. See you tomorrow. — Natasha

P.S. From a restaurant owned by a “pizza freak” in Amsterdam to a spinach crust in Düsseldorf, Germany, readers shared 15 of their favorite pizza spots.

Reach Natasha and the team at briefing@nytimes.com.



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