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Key dates as France seeks way out of political deadlock

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(Reuters) -France’s inconclusive elections have plunged it into a period of political uncertainty, with no single grouping in the national parliament having enough seats to govern.

It must also deal with the logistics and security challenges of staging an Olympic Games before the country winds down for summer holidays, during which time the usual business of politics shuts down until September.

Here are some key dates to watch out for as the country and its leaders attempt to navigate the difficult weeks ahead.

July 10 – informal discussions on coalition options pick up pace as lawmakers return to Paris ahead of the official opening of parliament next week. Few expect any early breakthroughs.

July 14 – Bastille Day. An opportunity for President Emmanuel Macron to communicate his view to the country and rival political factions about what should happen next – if he chooses to do so. So far, he has remained out of the fray.

July 18 – official opening of the new parliament session when lawmakers take their seats in the National Assembly within their own party formations. Some see this as a moment when the temporary alliances formed for the purpose of the election – notably the left-wing’s New Popular Front – dissolve and the individual parties can look afresh at their options.

July 26 – Olympic Games begin, running until Aug. 11 and diverting public and media attention from politics and occupying major administrative and security resources. Some lawmakers suggest this period be used as a cooling-off period in the political process.

Aug. 1 – end of parliamentary session. Politics as usual grinds to a halt as much of France goes on holiday until the political “rentree” (return) of early September.

Sept. 2 – as parliamentarians return from the summer break, pressure will quickly build for an agreement on the 2025 budget, whether some kind of workable government or ad hoc coalition is in place by then or not. 

Sept. 20 – deadline for EU member states to submit their medium-term fiscal plans to the European Commission. Along with six other countries with excess deficits, France must show how it will get its borrowing back to within EU limits. 

Late-Oct/early-Nov – the rough timescale for the Commission to publish its assessment of those plans, with the possibility of a two-week extension if needed.

(Writing and reporting by Mark JohnEditing by Keith Weir)

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