Macron humiliated in French elections – but could still help stop Le Pen’s far-right

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jul1,2024

Emmanuel Macron‘s centrist force has come out a loser in the first round of the French election.

Marine Le Pen‘s far-right National Rally (RN) reached 33 percent of the national popular vote, while the left-wing coalition New Popular Front got 28 percent, according to results shared by France’s Interior Ministry. Mr Macron’s Ensemble alliance garnered just around 20 percent.

This humiliating result could lead to the number of MPs in Mr Macron’s centrist parliamentary group being reduced from 250 to fewer than 100.

The second round of France’s parliamentary election is unlikely to save the French President’s alliance from humiliation but could prevent the hard right from snatching an absolute majority. A similar victory would land the 28-year-old President of the National Rally, Jordan Bardella, the top job of Prime Minister and allow the party to form a government within days of the July 7 vote.

If, however, the centrist and leftist forces joined forces and created what is known in French politics as a cordon sanitaire against the far-right, they could stave off the National Rally’s advance and force Mr Bardella to seek allies to be able to govern.  

As thousands of people descended to Paris’ Place de la République on Sunday night to protest the rise of the National Rally on the national stage, left-wing voters in France are showing political parties there is an appetite for an anti-far-right coalition.

But a similar policy would require a collaboration also between centrists and the far-left France Unbowed (LFI) – a party Mr Macron has criticised as destructive for his country just as much as its far-right counterpart.

France’s Prime Minister Gabriel Attal, an ally of Mr Macron, called for “no vote to go to the National Front” on Sunday night – but said candidates belonging to the centrist coalition should bow out from the second turn only where a candidate from “republican forces” was better placed to win. Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s far-left is unlikely to be considered within this group.

An even clearer rejection of a centrist collaboration with France Unbowed came from former Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, who called on voters to oppose the far-right and far-left equally.

He said in a televised statement: “No vote should be given to the candidates of the RN, but also those of LFI, with whom we differ, not only on programmes but on fundamental values.

“Consistent with this position, I will propose to the Horizons candidates who came third and who could, by their presence in the second round, without hope of victory, favour the election of a candidate from the extremes, to withdraw in favour of candidates from parties with which we share the same democratic and republican demands of our country.

“I call on people to vote for those who, from the social democratic left to the conservative right, have in common the attachment to freedom, to respect for the rule of law, to the conviction that the EU is a party of the solution, respecting the planet.”

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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