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Emmanuel Macron's snap election gamble has halted National Rally's momentum in the key second round, exit polls have predicted.

The left-wing New Popular Front, which established a final ballot pact with Ensemble, is forecast to take between 172 and 205 seats as France's National Assembly braces for a hung parliament.

Macron's centrist coalition looks poised to receive around 150 to 175 seats, leaving National Rally languishing down in third between 115 and 150 MPs.

The exit polls come after Macron struck a deal with non-National Rally candidates to prevent Jordan Bardella becoming Prime Minister.

Bardella later condemned the arrangement as the fruit of an “alliance of dishonour”.

The exit polls left France Unbowed leader Jean-Luc Melenchon calling on Macron to ask the left to govern.

He claimed Macron must admit defeat and enable the New Popular Front to run the country with a minority administration.

Melenchon said: "The New Popular Front is ready to govern. And after all, it's the only alternative which has got a very organised program and a very detailed program.

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"The elements on the left are united and have shown that they were able to deal with this extraordinary historical situation. Once again, it saved the Republic, we saved the Republic."

National Rally already elected 39 MPs in the first ballot, with an additional 32 winning from the leftist New Popular Front.

However, the situation changed drastically compared to last week after Macron urged candidates to halt National Rally's momentum.

Ensemble opted to drop 81 candidates, with the centrist coalition qualifying for 319 contests.

The New Popular Front also dropped 130 candidates after qualifying to contest 446 races.

Ahead of the candidates' list closing, Macron said: “Let's not be mistaken.

“It's the far-right that's on its way to the highest office, no one else.”

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