France faces a potential far-right government for the first time since WWII

Record turnout in French parliamentary elections

by Faruk Imamovic
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France faces a potential far-right government for the first time since WWII
© Getty Images/Thierry Chesnot

French President Emmanuel Macron reacted to the results of early parliamentary elections in France and referred to the victory of the right led by Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella.

In a short address to the public, Macron said that the high turnout in the French elections speaks volumes.

Macron called for a “broad” democratic alliance against the far right.

“Faced with National Rally, the time has come for a broad, clearly democratic and republican alliance for the second round,” he said in a statement.

He added that the high turnout in the first round spoke of “the importance of this vote for all our compatriots and the desire to clarify the political situation”.

The preliminary results of the first round of elections showed that Macron's party Ensemble! (Together!) finished in third place with 21.5 percent of the vote.

On the other hand, the rightists won 34.20 percent of the votes, and the left-wing coalition New People's Front won 29.10 percent of the votes.

French President Emmanuel Macron
French President Emmanuel Macron© Getty Images/Sean Gallup
 

For the first time since World War II, far-right can govern France

French socialist Olivier Faure warns that for the first time since World War II, the extreme right can govern France.

After the preliminary election results were published, he told TF1 that France was facing a historic result.

"The question that will be asked next week is whether we give them full powers or not," he said, before stating that "the position of the Socialists is extremely clear" with regard to the run-off.

He said that there is a risk of electing a candidate from the extreme right.

Preliminary results showed that the right-wing parties won 34.20 percent of the votes, and the leftist New People's Front coalition won 29.10 percent of the votes.

Le Pen after the first round of elections in France: Democracy has won, we need an absolute majority

French rightist Marine Le Pen reflected on the results of the first round of parliamentary elections in France and said that this is a big day for the National Rally party.

In a speech after the election, Le Pen said that the results were proof that the voters had shown their desire for change with an unequivocal vote.

“The French have shown their willingness to turn the page on a contemptuous and corrosive power,” she told the cheering crowd.

According to estimates by Ipsos and French television, in the first round of the election, the right-wing National Gathering party led by Jordan Bardella won 34 percent of the vote.

Second in the number of votes is the left-wing New People's Front coalition with 28.1 percent of the vote, while Macron's centrist party is predicted to have won 20.3 percent of the vote.

The Republican Party won 10.2 percent of the votes in the first round of elections.

Mass protests in France due to the victory of the far-right

Thousands of people gathered at the Place de la Republique, or Republic Square, in the center of Paris, protesting the possibility of the extreme right taking power in France.

No major incidents were reported, and Jean-Luc Melanchon, the leader of the largest left-wing party in France, addressed the crowd.

After the first round of parliamentary elections, 38 mandates went to the extreme right. Leftists gathered around the New Popular Front coalition won 32 mandates.

The debacle was experienced by the Ensemble coalition, which also includes the Renaissance party, led by Emmanuel Macron, the president of France. They won only two mandates in the first round, and in the previous convocation they had as many as 249 seats in the parliament.

The second round will be held on July 7, and a total of 499 future representatives will be elected in the second round.

France's unique electoral system could prevent victory for the far-right

The first round of extraordinary parliamentary elections was held in France last night, where, at least on paper, the Rassemblement National party, which represents the radical right, won a big victory.

With a record turnout of 67.71 percent, around 10 million French people voted for the National Assembly, which is formally led by Jordan Bardella, and the informal leader is Marine Le Pen, a well-known name among the European right.

When Emmanuel Macron, the president of France, after the elections for the European Parliament where his Renaissance party lost, called these extraordinary elections, this result was expected.

However, the specific system of parliamentary elections in France could be a stop for the absolute power of the radical right.

As is the case with presidential elections throughout Europe and the world, parliamentary elections in France are held in two rounds. In the first round, which was held last night, only 76 out of 577 seats in the parliament were finally decided.

For a candidate to win in his electoral district, two conditions must be met. One is that the turnout should be at least 45 percent, and the other is to win an absolute majority, i.e. more than 50 percent, of the votes of the people who went to the polls.

This happened in 76 electoral districts, so the National Assembly eventually won 38, while the left united in the New Popular Front won 32 seats. The real collapse was experienced by the Ensemble coalition, which includes the Renaissance party, which has only two seats after the first round. In the previous convocation, this coalition had as many as 249 seats.

In all other districts, the representative or parliamentarian will be elected on July 7, when the second round is held. In order to understand the importance of this system in the context of preventing the extreme right from coming to power, it is enough to look at several previous presidential elections in France.

The informal leader of the National Assembly, Marine Le Pen, tried several times to become the president of France. When she tried for the first time in 2012, she was eliminated in the first round and was behind Nicolas Sarkozy by more than three million votes.

Le Pen tried again five years later, and then she managed to enter the second round, as she did in 2022. However, in the second round, she suffered convincing defeats both times, and the main reason for this is that all the parties united and called on their voters not to vote for her, but (in both cases) for Macron.

This is where we return to their system for the election of parliamentarians. In addition to other rules related to turnout, there is also a rule that creates unique situations in French elections. If three or even four candidates win a minimum of 12.5 percent of the vote, they gain the right to go to the second round of elections.

Thus, in 127 districts the National Front will go to the second round against one candidate, while in as many as 290 the French will choose between three candidates, one of whom is from a right-wing party. 

France
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