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Tuesday Briefing: What Comes Next for France

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French voters rejected a country dominated by the far right, but they now face a Parliament that is split and has an unclear path to a workable government.

Parliament was divided between left, right and center blocs, with none of them holding enough seats to achieve a majority. The New Popular Front, a coalition of left-wing parties, emerged with the most seats, followed by President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist Renaissance party and its allies. The far-right National Rally party finished third. These maps show how France voted.

My colleague Roger Cohen writes that it will take painstaking negotiations to eventually yield a viable government. France does not have a culture of such compromise and the muddle could take months to sort out. Macron yesterday asked his prime minister to remain in office “for the moment” in order to “assure the stability of the country.”

Possible scenarios: Macron could appoint a prime minister from outside his party and share power, but he has labeled the far-left and far-right parties too “extreme,” and other political groups have shown little appetite for working with him. Some analysts have suggested a broad coalition made up of parties within the three main blocs, but there appears to be little interest in working together. Here’s more on what could come next.

President Biden yesterday defied the Democrats calling for him to bow out of the presidential race after his debate performance threw his party into a panic. Biden wrote in a letter to Democratic members of Congress that he was “firmly committed to staying in this race.”

His pledge kicked off what could be the most crucial week of his presidency: He faces crumbling support from Democratic lawmakers and mounting fears of a rout by Donald Trump in November.

During an interview on a morning news program, Biden said he didn’t care about any of the “big names” urging him to step aside. “If any of these guys don’t think I should run, run against me,” he said. “Go ahead, announce for president. Challenge me at the convention.”

Health concerns: An expert on Parkinson’s disease visited the White House eight times from last summer to this spring, according to official visitor logs. The White House did not specify whether the expert was there to consult about Biden, but said that the president was not being treated for Parkinson’s.

What’s next: Biden will hold a news conference, likely on Thursday, after he finishes hosting a NATO summit in Washington. His performance will be scrutinized by Democrats who are eager to assess whether he can handle the kind of off-the-cuff pressure that he struggled with during his debate with Trump.

A desperate search-and-rescue operation took place in Kyiv after a Russian missile destroyed Ukraine’s largest children’s hospital yesterday. The attack was part of a large-scale bombardment that killed at least 38 people in cities across Ukraine.

Two people were killed at the hospital, and 10 more were injured, including seven children, local officials said. At least three children were pulled from the rubble.

The hospital’s director said that more than 600 children were being treated there when it was hit. The explosion blasted out the windows of the main hospital and sent shrapnel tearing into the building. A doctor said the survivors were being transferred to another hospital.

Context: The missile strikes raised questions about the state of Ukraine’s air defenses. NATO leaders are meeting in Washington today, and will discuss how to bolster them.

As overwhelmed European destinations like Venice place restrictions on tourists, Copenhagen is trying a different approach: rewarding visitors who act responsibly.

Beginning July 15, tourists who participate in the Danish capital’s green initiatives, like cycling or cleanup efforts, will get free museum tours, meals and more.

To mark the first 25 years of this century, The New York Times Book Review asked hundreds of literary luminaries to name the 10 best books published since Jan. 1, 2000. The interpretation of “best” was left open — for some, this simply meant “favorite.” For others, it meant books that would endure for generations.

Stephen King took part in our poll. So did Claudia Rankine, James Patterson, Sarah Jessica Parker, Karl Ove Knausgaard, Elin Hilderbrand, Roxane Gay, Marlon James, Sarah MacLean, Min Jin Lee and Jonathan Lethem. (Take a peek at their ballots.)

We’ll be publishing the list over the course of this week, starting with those ranked 81st to 100th.

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