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FRANCE: Projections in France’s election show voters rejecting the far right

Updated July 7, 20243:06 PM ET


Nick Spicer

Courtesy of NPR [Website:]

di Emanuele G. - domenica 7 luglio 2024 - 295 letture

French voters turned out in numbers not seen in decades to stop the far-right National Rally from taking power in the French National Assembly. Polls predicted a first-place finish for National Rally, which instead came in third in initial results as polling stations closed.

Over two-thirds of registered voters cast a ballot in Sunday’s vote, up more than 20% from the last legislative vote. French President Emmanuel Macron called the snap election after the National Rally came in first in European elections a month ago. In dissolving parliament and calling for a vote widely described as a dangerous gamble, including overseas, he said it was time for “clarity.”

Until the final day before the vote, polls suggested that French voters clearly wanted the National Rally to come in first, even though their numbers dropped and it became clear the party would likely not win an absolute majority. Still, its de facto leader, Marine Le Pen, counted to put forward her protegé, Jordan Bardella, as her candidate to be France’s next prime minister. He would have been the first far-right head of government since the Second World War.

But in the month between the dissolution and Sunday’s vote, a coalition of left-wing parties and Macron’s own Ensemble movement struck a series of local “hold your nose” deals, whereby whoever was most likely to defeat the National Rally candidate would get the full support of the other party. The deal was called the “Republican Front,” after the 1936 pact between communists, socialists and others to keep the far right out of power. French President Emmanuel Macron, right, votes for the second round of the legislative elections in Le Touquet-Paris-Plage, northern France, on Sunday.

It appears to have worked again.

What happens next is unclear. While a German-style “grand coalition” between the left-wing grouping and Macron’s party is possible, so too is a technocratic government that will see France through hosting the Paris Olympics this summer.

What will almost certainly not happen is a deadlocked “cohabitation” government with Macron as president and the National Rally running the government — a situation that would have weakened France’s position in the European Union, NATO and in the international financial markets.

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