Who might be the French left's next prime minister?

(Reuters) -France's left-wing New Popular Front (NFP), a hastily assembled alliance, has emerged as the leading bloc in the next parliament - but without a working majority.

Political custom dictates that President Emmanuel Macron names a prime minister from among the ranks of the largest political force or coalition in parliament.

The NFP, made up of the Communist Party, the hard left France Unbowed, the Greens, and the Socialist Party, has not said who would be its pick for prime minister. Its parties appeared unable to agree on who would hold cross-party appeal.

Following are some of the bloc's best-known figures:

JEAN-LUC MELENCHON, HARD LEFT FRANCE UNBOWED PARTY

Melenchon, 72, is a pugnacious veteran of left-wing politics in France. He held ministerial posts in past governments, when he was a member of the Socialist Party.

He ran for president in 2012, 2017 and 2022, improving his score each time. He came third in 2022, just behind far-right leader Marine Le Pen. Macron won that election.

A fiery orator, Melenchon is one of the most divisive figures in French politics, enthusing some voters while horrifying others with his unbridled tax-and-spend proposals, class war rhetoric and controversial foreign policy positions, especially on Gaza. Critics accuse him of antisemitism, which he denies.

MARINE TONDELIER, LEADER OF THE GREENS

Tondelier, 37, grew up in Henin-Beaumont, a town in northern France that is well-known as a bastion of the far-right National Rally (RN) and its leader Le Pen.

Tondelier has a long record of opposing the RN.

She was elected as an opposition member of the town's municipal council in 2014. She documented her experiences working under an RN mayor and what she described as the oppressive atmosphere generated by the far-right administration in a 2017 book entitled "News from the Front".

Tondelier was also elected to a northern regional council in 2021, and she became leader of France's best-known ecologist party, the Greens, the following year.

FRANCOIS RUFFIN

Ruffin, 48, is an author and filmmaker who turned to politics when he ran for parliament in the 2017 election. He stood as the sole candidate for a regional political party he created -- Arise Picardy -- before joining Melenchon's France Unbowed party once elected.

Ruffin often found himself at odds with the core of France Unbowed and fell out with Melenchon over the NFP's strategy during the 2024 election campaign.

"My disagreements with Jean-Luc Melenchon are well known, they are profound on democracy, on (the use of) sound and fury rather than quiet force and therefore my place will not be in the France Unbowed group, if ever I am elected," Ruffin said days ahead of the second round.

He retained his seat in parliament with a wafer-thin margin over his local far-right rival.

RAPHAEL GLUCKSMANN, SOCIALIST PARTY

Glucksmann, 44, headed the Socialist list of candidates in the European elections in early June. It obtained nearly 14% of the vote, just behind Macron's Together group. This was considered a sign of revival for a party that governed France in past decades but had recently fallen into electoral oblivion.

Glucksmann attended prestigious schools and had a career in journalism and broadcasting before branching out in a variety of directions, including being an adviser to then Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili.

He advocates strong European support for Ukraine in its resistance against Russia's invasion.

LAURENT BERGER, FORMER CFDT TRADE UNION LEADER

Berger, 55, is a former head of one of France's main trade unions, the moderate CFDT. He has a track record of strong opposition to the RN.

Berger has said he does not want to be prime minister, but others on the left have put his name forward, saying he could be a unifying figure and a popular alternative to Melenchon.

FABIEN ROUSSEL, LEADER OF THE FRENCH COMMUNIST PARTY

A lifelong communist, Roussel joined the French Communist Party's youth movement at the age of 16 and was active in anti-apartheid protests, which he has said shaped his political thinking.

Aged 55, he is a staunch defender of French nuclear energy, has denounced the rising anti-hunting sentiment in France and has defined French gastronomy as "good wine, good meat, good cheese."

Roussel's first real break in politics came aged 28 when he became an adviser to Michelle Demissine, a tourism minister under prime minister Lionel Jospin.

(Writing by Estelle Shirbon and Richard LoughEditing by Keith Weir)