Far-Right Leads France's Snap Elections: First Far-Right Government Since WWII?

The far-right National Rally, led by Jordan Bardella, is leading in France's snap parliamentary elections, potentially marking the country's first far-right government since World War II

by Sededin Dedovic
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Far-Right Leads France's Snap Elections: First Far-Right Government Since WWII?
© Thierry Chesnot / Getty Images

The far-right in France, led by the young Jordan Bardella, is leading in the first round of the snap parliamentary elections and could come to power. According to initial estimates by public opinion research institutes, the far-right party National Rally and its allies have won between 34.2 and 34.5 percent of the votes.

Following is the left-wing coalition New People's Front with 28.5 to 29 percent of the votes, and third is the centrist camp of President Emmanuel Macron with 20.5 to 21.5 percent of the votes. The right-wing party The Republicans, which was not in alliance with the far-right, won 10 percent of the votes.

The first estimates of the new parliament composition with 577 seats should be taken with great caution. The National Rally could win a relative or even an absolute majority after the second round of elections scheduled for July 7.

After the sudden dissolution of parliament on June 9 due to the poor performance of Macron's bloc and the rise of the far-right in the European Parliament elections, the political landscape in France will be deeply shaken.

Everything will depend on the second round of voting and the appeals of parties that did not make it to the second round for their voters to support a candidate on July 7. If Bardella (28) becomes prime minister, it would be the first such situation in France since World War II that the far-right takes power.

However, Bardella has earlier warned that he will not accept the position of prime minister if his party does not have an absolute majority. This would also be an unprecedented cohabitation between Emmanuel Macron, a pro-European president, and a government much more hostile towards the European Union.

Another possible scenario is a blocked parliament, with no possible alliance between the highly polarized camps to form a government. Voter turnout today was around 65 percent, according to early estimates.

High Stakes

This shows how high the stakes are in these elections, which could ultimately result in one of the two largest powers in the European Union getting a populist right-wing government.

Macron called early elections after the far-right National Rally (RN) of Marine Le Pen achieved significant successes in the European Parliament elections earlier this month. The RN is leading in pre-election polls ahead of the new left-wing alliance, the New People's Front (NPF), recently established to compete in the elections.

The centrist Renaissance is in third place.

Le Pen Confident of Majority

Le Pen is confident that her party will win an absolute majority in parliament, form a government, and impose restrictions on President Macron regarding Ukraine.

Candidates who win an absolute majority in the first round enter the assembly, but in most constituencies, the winner will be known only after the second round on July 7.

French Presidential Candidate Marine Le Pen Holds A Rally Meeting In Marseille© Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images

Macron's second and final term ends in 2027, and he remains president regardless of the election results, but he may have to share power with opponents.

A sharp decline in support for Renaissance will certainly limit his effectiveness. Marine Le Pen from RN is considered a serious contender in the next presidential election.

Not a Single Vote Should Go to the National Rally

No vote should go to the National Rally and their "catastrophic project" in the second round of parliamentary elections on Sunday, July 7, said outgoing French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal this evening.

"Our goal is clear: to prevent the National Rally (far-right) from gaining an absolute majority in the National Assembly in the second round," said Attal. The far-right in France, led by the young Jordan Bardella, is leading in the first round of snap parliamentary elections and could come to power.

According to initial estimates by public opinion research institutes, the far-right party National Rally and its allies have won between 34.2 and 34.5 percent of the votes. Following is the left-wing coalition New People's Front with 28.5 to 29 percent of the votes, and third is the centrist camp of President Emmanuel Macron with 20.5 to 21.5 percent of the votes.

The right-wing party The Republicans, which was not in alliance with the far-right, won 10 percent of the votes.

What will the situation be this time?

Numerous political leaders have given guidelines to candidates and voters in the first round.

President Emmanuel Macron called for a "broad rally behind republican and democratic" candidates for the second round, which essentially means directing against the far-right "National Rally" and the left-wing party "Unbowed France." Former Prime Minister Edouard Philippe explicitly called on candidates from his party to withdraw if they are in third place and to rally behind candidates from the left to center-right, excluding the "National Rally" and "Unbowed France."

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