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Voting under way in French parliamentary elections

07 Jul 2024 3 minute read
Marine le Pen (CC BY 3.0 NO). Picture by Marie-Lan Nguyen. Right, Emmanuel Macron. Picture by European Parliament (CC BY 2.0).

Voting opened in France for the second round of high-stake parliamentary elections that have already seen the largest gains ever for the country’s far-right National Rally party.

French President Emmanuel Macron took a huge gamble in dissolving parliament and calling for the elections after his centrists were trounced in European elections on June 9.

The first round on June 30 saw the largest gains ever for the anti-immigration, nationalist National Rally, led by Marine Le Pen.

Sunday’s vote determines which party controls the National Assembly and who will be prime minister.

If support is further eroded for Mr Macron’s weak centrist majority, he will be forced to share power with parties opposed to most of his pro-business, pro-European Union policies.


Racism and antisemitism have marred the electoral campaign, along with Russian cybercampaigns, and more than 50 candidates reported being physically attacked — highly unusual for France.

The government is deploying 30,000 police on voting day.

The heightened tensions come while France is celebrating a very special summer: Paris is about to host exceptionally ambitious Olympic Games, the national football team reached the semi-final of the Euro 2024 championship, and the Tour de France is racing around the country alongside the Olympic torch.

Meanwhile, 49 million voters are in the midst of the country’s most important elections in decades.

France could have its first far-right government since the Nazi occupation in the Second World War if the National Rally wins an absolute majority and its 28-year-old leader Jordan Bardella becomes prime minister.

The party came out on top in the previous week’s first-round voting, followed by a coalition of centre-left, hard-left and Green parties, and Mr Macron’s centrist alliance.

The outcome remains highly uncertain.

Polls between the two rounds suggest that the National Rally may win the most seats in the 577-seat National Assembly but fall short of the 289 seats needed for a majority.

That would still make history, if a party with historic links to xenophobia and downplaying the Holocaust, and long seen as a pariah, becomes France’s biggest political force.

If it wins the majority, Mr Macron would be forced to share power in an awkward arrangement known in France as “cohabitation”.

Another possibility is that no party has a majority, resulting in a hung parliament.

That could prompt Mr Macron to pursue coalition negotiations with the centre-left or name a technocratic government with no political affiliations.

Regardless of what happens, Mr Macron said he will not step down and will stay president until his term ends in 2027.

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Dai Ponty
Dai Ponty
7 days ago

My father and his generation fought against fascism he went ashore on the first wave with the 2nd Battalion South Wales Borders to FREE the bloody French from these type of people and now we have it in this country including Wales make no mistake Farage and his mob are far Right Fascists

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