[VIDEOS] France Election (2024)

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French elections: How do they work and why are they so significant?​


Emmanuel Macron's decision to call two rounds of elections on 30 June and 7 July is seen by rivals and allies as a reckless gamble that is about to hand political power to the far right.

His aim was to regain control of French politics, but that’s not what the opinion polls say will happen.

Why is France holding elections?


Mr Macron had no need to call National Assembly elections for another three years.

But an hour after his Renew alliance was trounced in European elections by the far-right National Rally party of Jordan Bardella and Marine Le Pen on 9 June, the French president went on TV to say he couldn’t act as if nothing had happened.

His party came third and he said it was time for France’s people and politicians “who do not recognise themselves in the extremist fever” to build a new coalition. It was, he said later, the "most responsible solution".

What was Macron thinking?


Apparently Mr Macron had been thinking about calling an election for months, but it came out of the blue even for his closest colleagues.

France is on the cusp of a massive event, with the Paris Olympics running from 26 July to 11 August. It has now had a lightning-fast election campaign as well.

Mr Macron clearly wanted to break a logjam, after his failure to secure an absolute majority in the National Assembly in June 2022. Passing laws has become a real headache - he had to force through pension reforms without a vote while tougher immigration rules required National Rally support.

“France needs a clear majority if it is to act in serenity and harmony,” Mr Macron argues. And yet he has left French politics and his own party in turmoil.

His centrist Ensemble alliance of Renaissance, Horizons and MoDem is languishing in the polls, behind a swiftly formed left-wing New Popular Front, made up of Socialists, Greens, Communists and the far-left France Unbowed (LFI).

"He killed off the presidential majority," said Horizons leader and ex-Prime Minister Edouard Philippe.

“This decision has created everywhere in our country, in the French people, worry, incomprehension, sometimes anger," says Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire.

Why are these elections so significant?

For the first time in France, National Rally could win power, despite widespread appeals to voters to steer clear of extremes.
RN is led by 28-year-old Jordan Bardella and in parliament by Marine Le Pen, who has fought for the presidency three times and lost each time.

But each time she won more votes. Now the polls says her party could become the biggest in France, falling short of an absolute majority.

Ms Le Pen also has an eye on the next presidential election in three years' time.

How do French elections work?

There are 577 seats in the National Assembly, including 13 overseas districts and 11 constituencies that represent French citizens abroad. For an absolute majority a party needs 289.

The Macron alliance had only 250 seats in the outgoing Assembly and had to build support from other parties every time to pass a law.

The first round eliminates all candidates who fail to win the support of 12.5% of locally registered voters.

Anyone who scores more than 50% of the vote with a turnout of at least a quarter of the local electorate wins automatically.

That normally happens only in a handful of constituencies, but the RN believes this time it could win dozens.

The second round is a series of run-offs fought either by two, three or sometimes four candidates.

Because turnout is expected to be high, Ipsos pollster Brice Teinturier estimates at least 250 seats could become three-way races next Sunday.

Some candidates may drop out before 7 July to give an ally a better chance of stopping a rival from winning, for example from the far right.

The two-round system means nothing is certain, but political expert Jérôme Jaffré says there is a real risk for the Macron camp that many of their MPs will either not qualify at all for the run-offs or scraping through in third place.

RN have 88 seats in the outgoing parliament, but polls suggest they could win 220 to 260.

Until now voters have traditionally used “le vote utile” - tactical voting - to form a "barrage" and keep the far right out.

But that barrage is this time more likely to benefit the left than Mr Macron's Ensemble. And many voters in the centre might prefer RN over the Popular Front, because of the dominance of Jean-Luc Mélenchon's far-left France Unbowed.

What if Macron’s party loses?


Whoever wins, Mr Macron has said he will not resign as president.

If his party loses, and National Rally wins, then the question is whether RN can win an absolute majority of 289 seats, or a relative majority similar to that held since 2022 by the Macron camp.

An RN victory could open the door to almost three years of “cohabitation”, or power-sharing, when the president of one party heads the state and another party runs the government.

It’s happened before, with domestic policy in the hands of the prime minister and foreign and defence policy in the hands of the president.

Will Jordan Bardella be PM?

Not necessarily.

Under the constitution it is Mr Macron who decides who leads the next government. And Mr Bardella says he will not become prime minister if RN doesn’t secure that absolute majority: “I don’t want to be the president’s assistant.”

A relative majority, he said, would leave him unable to act: "I’m not going to sell the French people measures or actions that I couldn’t follow through.”

But Mr Macron does have to reflect the make-up of the new Assembly, so if National Rally are the predominant party he could find it hard to choose someone else.

Party campaign posters proclaim Mr Bardella as prime minister. He has a big presence on TikTok but his biggest job has been as a member of the European Parliament since 2019.

Has cohabitation happened in France before?

Not for more than 20 years, as parliamentary elections now come hard on the heels of presidential votes, and voting preferences do not change much within that time.

There have been three periods of cohabitation in the past:

1997-2002 Socialist Lionel Jospin was prime minister under centre-right President Jacques Chirac

1993-95 Centre-right Prime Minister Edouard Balladour worked with Socialist President François Mitterrand during his second term

1986-88 Jacques Chirac was prime minister under President François Mitterrand

But nothing has really prepared France for the kind of cohabitation that could occur after 7 July.

Is National Rally still far-right?

For years Marine Le Pen has sought to “de-diabolise” or detoxify her party from the antisemitic and extremist roots of her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, and his fellow founders of the National Front, which she renamed as National Rally.

Much of its focus now is on the cost-of-living crisis, but many of its strict anti-immigration policies remain and a ruling this year by the Council of State, France's highest court for administration, confirmed it could be considered “extreme right”.

France football captain Kylian Mbappé has warned his compatriots “the extremes are at the gates of power”, prompting Mr Bardella to hit back at multimillionaire sports figures "giving lessons to people struggling to make ends meet".

Mr Bardella wants to ban French dual nationals from sensitive strategic posts, calling them "half-nationals". He also wants to limit social welfare for immigrants and get rid of the automatic right to French citizenship for children with foreign-born parents.

But a planned ban on wearing headscarves in public is for now not a priority.

Anti-Nato and anti-EU policies have also been softened and National Rally's close ties with Vladimir Putin's Russia have been quietly dropped.

Leaving the EU has not been on the agenda since 2022. Instead, Mr Bardella focuses on cutting VAT (sales tax) on energy and a list of 100 essential goods and repealing the Macron pension reforms in a matter of months.

What does the left promise?

The New Popular Front is an unlikely alliance of Socialists, Greens, Communists and France Unbowed.

They have promised to scrap the Macron pension and immigration reforms and their platform is otherwise based on the idea that “it’s either the far right, or us”.

President Macron has attacked the group as being “totally immigrationist” and allowing people to change gender at their town hall, an accusation that has prompted allegations of transphobia.

The Popular Front has promised to fight antisemitism, even though it includes candidates who have been accused of making antisemitic remarks.

 
Marine Le Pen's far-right National Rally party leads in first round of French election

Marine Le Pen's far-right National Rally party will get the biggest vote share in the first round of France's parliamentary elections, according to exit polls.

As polls closed on the first round of voting on Sunday, National Rally had a strong lead at 33%, followed by the left-wing New Popular Front coalition on 28.5%.

President Emmanuel Macron's Renaissance party are polling third with an estimated 22%.

Addressing supporters in Henin-Beaumont, northern France, Ms Le Pen said: "For the moment nothing is won, and the second round will determine the outcome."

She warned voters to "be careful" in the coming days, and urged them to "mobilise" ahead of the second round on 7 July.


The result is almost double the 18% National Rally achieved in the 2022 elections and puts them in good stead to become the largest party in France's lower house.


 
Laurent Berger, the former secretary-general of the French Democratic Confederation of Labour and current European Trade Union Confederation chairman, urged for the “blockade” in a post on X.

“This evening, our democracy and our republican values are at stake in the face of the National Rally on the threshold of power,” Berger said.

“In the face of danger … it is imperative to block the extreme right”.

Al Jazeera
 
European markets have been rattled since Macron’s shock decision to call a snap election. The prospect of a win by either the far right or the left has unsettled investors, as both have pledged big spending increases, which could undermine France’s already fragile finances.

“With this result, markets are looking into another week of really high uncertainty – probably fear, as it is still possible for RN to gain an absolute majority next week,” Carsten Brzeski, an economist and the head of Global Head Macro Research, told Reuters.

“We will have a lot coming up in the next days in terms of new polls showing what this could mean for the individual seats,” Brzeski said.

“From the market’s point of view, a win by the leftwing bloc would have been an even worse scenario, even though from the start it was very unlikely,” he added.

Al Jazeera
 

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Protesters clash with riot police in Paris as Marine Le Pen's far-right National Rally leads France election​


Thousands of people gathered in the Place de la Republique as first-round legislative elections on Sunday plunged the country into political uncertainty.

Protesters clashed with police in central Paris as demonstrations were held against Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally (RN), which jumped into an early lead in France’s snap election.

Thousands of people gathered in the Place de la Republique as first-round legislative elections on Sunday plunged the country into political uncertainty.

Video showed fireworks being set off in the direction of police who responded by firing tear gas.

Barricades designed to keep crowds under control were torched as protesters vented their anger.

The anti-immigration party led by Ms Le Pen scored historic gains in Sunday’s vote, exit polls showed, but the final result will depend on days of horsetrading before next week's run-off.

The nationalist party was seen winning around 34% of the vote, exit polls from Ipsos, Ifop, OpinionWay and Elabe showed, in a huge setback for President Emmanuel Macron who had called the snap election after his ticket was trounced by RN in European Parliament elections earlier this month.

RN's share of the vote was comfortably ahead of leftist and centrist rivals, including Mr Macron's Together alliance, whose bloc was seen winning 20.5%-23%. The New Popular Front (NFP), a hastily assembled left-wing coalition, was projected to win around 29% of the vote, the exit polls showed.

The exit polls were in line with opinion surveys ahead of the election, and were met with jubilation by Ms Le Pen's supporters.

However, they provided little clarity on whether the eurosceptic RN will be able to form a government to "cohabit" with the pro-EU Mr Macron after next Sunday's run-off.

At Ms Le Pen's Henin-Beaumont constituency in northern France, supporters waved French flags and sung the Marseillaise.

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

RN's chances of winning power next week will depend on the political dealmaking made by its rivals over the coming days. In the past, centre-right and centre-left parties have teamed up to keep the RN from power, but that dynamic, known as the "republican front," is less certain than ever.

If no candidate reaches 50% in the first round, the top two contenders automatically qualify for the second round, as well as all those with 12.5% of registered voters. In the run-off, whoever wins the most votes take the constituency.

Mr Macron called on voters to rally behind candidates who are "clearly republican and democratic", which, based on his recent declarations, would exclude candidates from the RN and from the hard-left France Unbowed (LFI) party.

Political leaders from the centre-left and far-left all called on their third-placed candidates to drop out.

"Our guideline is simple and clear: not a single more vote for the National Rally," France Unbowed leader Jean-Luc Melenchon said.

However, the centre-right Republicans party, which split ahead of the vote with a small number of its lawmakers joining the RN, gave no guidance.

 
Mbappé urges youth to vote against 'extremists'

France's star footballer Kylian Mbappé urged voters to stand against "extremist" parties, as campaigning in the country's parliamentary elections kicked off.

President Emmanuel Macron called a snap election earlier this month, following a victory for his rival Marine Le Pen's right-wing National Rally in European elections.

With less than two weeks before the vote, his centrist alliance risks being squeezed by new coalitions on the left and right.

On Saturday, police estimated that a quarter of a million people protested across France against the prospect of the far-right coming to power.

Speaking in Germany ahead of France's opening Euro 2024 fixture on Sunday night, Mbappé urged young voters to reject "extremists", who he said were "at the gates of power".

"We have an opportunity to choose the future of the country and we have to emphasise the importance of the task," he added. But the forward admitted he was concerned about the prospect of widespread apathy among younger voters.

Mbappé didn't name those he considered to be extremists, but was responding to a question about his teammate Marcus Thuram, who said he wanted to keep the far-right National Rally party from power during a recent interview.

The party was quick to attack Mbappé for his comments. Nicolas Conquer, a National Rally candidate, told the BBC's Newshour programme that it "doesn't feel right for a sportsman from the national team to give directions on how people should vote".


 
French election results boost stocks and the euro

French stocks and the euro rallied Monday after results from the first round of elections suggested the far right will inflict a heavy defeat on President Emmanuel Macron but fall short of winning an outright majority in parliament.

France’s CAC 40 index, which represents 40 of the biggest companies listed in Paris, rose 2.7% at the open. The index closed 1% higher on the day but is still almost 6% below its level before Macron called the snap election on June 9.

Bank stocks, a bellwether for the economy, reversed some of the heavy losses they have suffered in recent weeks. Shares in BNP Paribas closed 3.6% higher, while Societe Generale and Credit Agricole climbed 3.1% and 2.8% respectively.



 
More than 210 candidates have stood down ahead of France's runoff election as President Emmanuel Macron and a left-wing coalition seek to block the far right, an AFP tally showed on Tuesday. The rivals are hoping that tactical withdrawals ahead of the runoff on Sunday will prevent the far-right National Rally party of Marine Le Pen winning an absolute majority of 289 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly.


France 24
 
French election candidates withdraw in bid to block far right

The deadline for declarations in the French elections ended Tuesday, with large numbers of left and centre candidates standing aside in order to try to block the far-right National Rally (RN).

Parties had till 18:00 local time (17:00 GMT) to register contenders for Sunday’s second round of parliamentary elections.

With no official list yet released, French media reported that between 214 and 218 third-placed contenders had pulled out of the race in their constituencies. It means there will now be around 108 three-way races, instead of just over 300.

There rest will be two-way run-offs, apart from in two constituencies where four candidates qualified.

Last Sunday’s first round produced a big victory for the party of Marine Le Pen, which - with allies - won around 33% of the vote.

A broad left-wing alliance came second, and President Emmanuel Macron’s centrists third.

But Ms Le Pen’s chances of winning an outright majority in the 577-seat National Assembly have been dented by the blocking tactics of her party’s enemies.

Where third-placed centre or left candidates pull out, the anti-RN vote is focused on a single candidate, making victory easier over the RN contender.

The leftwing New Popular Front (NPF) – which comprises everyone from centre-left social democrats to far-left anti-capitalists – issued instructions to all of its third-placed candidates to step down and let a centrist reap the anti-RN vote.

The NPF is thus helping two senior pro-Macron MPs – former prime minister Elisabeth Borne and Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin – to win in their constituencies in Normandy and the north.

Conversely a pro-Macron candidate has stood down in order to help radical leftwinger François Ruffin defeat the RN candidate in the northern city of Amiens.

The RN’s 28 year-old president and hopeful for prime minister Jordan Bardella condemned these arrangements as the fruit of an “alliance of dishonour” between parties that had until now been at each other’s throats.

Instructions to candidates from Macron’s centrist bloc have been more ambiguous than the NPF’s.

Though Macron himself and Prime Minister Gabriel Attal have called for “no vote for the RN”, some in his camp believe its far-left component makes the NPF equally unpalatable.

Senior figures like Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire and former prime minister Edouard Philippe – both originally from the centre-right – are refusing to issue instructions to vote systematically against the RN

RN leaders have said they will not attempt to form a government unless they are given an outright majority in the parliament in Sunday’s vote. They say they do not want to be given the appearance of power, if the reality is they cannot pass laws.

However on Tuesday Marine Le Pen appeared to qualify this, when she said that a lower majority would be good enough – if it does not fall too far short of the 289 member threshold.

Speaking on French radio she said that winning around 270 deputies would allow her party to open talks with individual MPs from other groups in the hope of persuading them into an accord.

“We are going to say to them:’ Are you ready to participate with us in a new majority? Are you ready to vote a confidence motion? Are you ready to vote for the budget?’” she said.

She cited as possible targets independent MPs of right and left, and part of the conservative Republicans party which won 10% of the vote on Sunday.

If the RN wins an absolute majority on Sunday, Bardella would be asked by President Macron to form a government – and there would then begin a tense period of “cohabitation” between two political enemies.

Under the French Fifth Republic constitution, power would flow away from Macron to the prime minister’s office because “the government determines and conducts the policy of the nation”.

However Mr Macron would probably seek to retain powers in the areas of foreign policy and defence, which from precedent – and not from the actual wording of the constitution – have remained the preserve of the Elysée in past cohabitations.

Marine Le Pen also accused the president Tuesday of carrying out an “administrative coup d’état” because she had heard he was preparing a number of key appointments in the police and army just days ahead of the vote.

“When you want to counter the results if an election by nominating your people to jobs, and when that stops [the government] from being able to carry out policies which the French people have asked for …. I call that an administrative coup d’état," she said.

“I hope it is only rumour,” she added.

BBC
 
France's far-right seen falling short of majority in run-off, poll shows

Marine Le Pen's National Rally (RN) will not win a majority of seats in next Sunday's parliamentary run-off election, according to a poll on Wednesday, suggesting efforts by French mainstream parties to block the far right might work.

A Harris Interactive poll for Challenges magazine - the first to be published after politicians across party lines formed an anti-RN front - showed the RN would fall short of the 289 seats required to control the 577-seat National Assembly.

The RN and its allies would get just 190 to 220 seats, according to the poll, while the centre-right Republicans (LR) would win 30 to 50 seats. This could rule out the possibility of a far-right minority government supported by part of the LR parliamentary group.

"The result of the withdrawals is a clear step back for RN," Challenges reporter Remi Clement wrote on X.
The poll was published after more than 200 candidates across the political spectrum withdrew their candidacies to clear the path for whoever was best placed to defeat the RN candidate in their voting district, in a process known as the "republican front."


 
France’s Far Right Won Big in First-Round Voting. Here’s How the Runoff Works.

President Emmanuel Macron’s risky decision to call snap legislative elections in France has backfired badly, enabling the far right to dominate the first round of voting held on Sunday.

But the French will return to the polls next Sunday for a second round of voting to choose their representatives in the 577-seat National Assembly, the country’s lower and more prominent house of Parliament.

France is in unpredictable territory, with the future of Mr. Macron’s second term at stake. The nationalist, anti-immigrant National Rally, led by Jordan Bardella, has never been closer to potentially governing the country.

Why did Macron call for snap elections?

When Mr. Macron was elected to a second term in 2022, his party failed to win an outright majority. The centrist coalition he formed has since governed with a slim majority, but it has struggled to pass certain bills.

Then, last month, the National Rally surged to first place in elections for the European Parliament, while the centrist coalition led by Mr. Macron’s Renaissance party came in a distant second.

After those results, which left Mr. Macron a reduced figure with three years left in his term, the president dissolved Parliament. He was under no obligation to do so, but he believed that a dissolution had become inevitable — opposition lawmakers were threatening to topple his government in the fall. He said he felt that a snap election was the only way to respect the will of the people.

“This dissolution was the only possible choice,” Mr. Macron wrote in a letter to French voters last month. He is the first president to dissolve the National Assembly since 1997.

What happened in the first round of voting?

Mr. Macron believed that sudden elections would present voters with a stark choice between himself and political extremes, and prevent his left-wing opposition from uniting against him. But that gamble has failed so far.

Official results published by the Interior Ministry showed that the National Rally party and its allies won about 33 percent of the vote in the first round.

The New Popular Front — a broad alliance of left-wing parties that includes the Socialists, the Greens, the Communists and the hard-left France Unbowed party — got about 28 percent.

Mr. Macron’s centrist Renaissance party and its allies only won about 20 percent.

The participation rate for the first round was nearly 67 percent, an unusually high number that reflected intense interest in a high-stakes race and a belief among voters that their ballot could fundamentally alter the course of Mr. Macron’s presidency.

The elections have already profoundly rocked French politics, fostering rare unity on the left, creating chaos in the mainstream right and fraying Mr. Macron’s centrist alliance.

Antisemitism has been a major theme, as have economic concerns. The race has focused attention on France’s fragile finances and the prospect of legislative gridlock that could undermine attempts to address it.

What’s at stake?

The presidency is France’s most powerful political office, with broad abilities to govern by decree. But the approval of Parliament, and especially the National Assembly, is required on most big domestic policy changes and key pieces of legislation, like spending bills or amendments to the Constitution.

Unlike with the Senate, France’s other house of Parliament, National Assembly members are elected directly by the people and can topple a French cabinet with a no-confidence vote. The lower house also has more leeway to legislate and typically gets the final word if the two houses disagree on a bill.

Most importantly, the composition of the National Assembly determines how France is governed.

If a new majority of lawmakers opposed to Mr. Macron is ushered in, he will be forced to appoint a political adversary as prime minister in what is known as a “cohabitation,” substantially shifting France’s domestic policy and muddling its foreign policy.

Only the National Rally appears in a position to secure enough seats for an absolute majority. If it does, Mr. Macron would have no other practical choice than to appoint Mr. Bardella as prime minister. He could try to appoint someone else, but it would run counter to the election results and National Rally lawmakers could quickly topple that person in a no-confidence vote.

What is the National Rally and who are its leaders?

The National Rally is France’s most prominent nationalist, anti-immigrant far-right party. It has won local elections, and it sent nearly 90 lawmakers to the lower house in 2022, but it has never governed the country.

Originally called the National Front, it was founded in 1972 and included former collaborators with the Nazis during World War II. The party’s founding president, Jean-Marie Le Pen, was openly racist and publicly diminished the Holocaust.

Marine Le Pen, Mr. Le Pen’s daughter, took over in 2011 and worked to “undemonize” the party. She distanced herself from her father’s antisemitic statements and even ousted him in 2015. She also broadened the party’s platform to include pocketbook issues.

But some members continue to come under fire for racist, antisemitic or homophobic comments. The party wants to drastically reduce immigration, make it harder for foreigners to become French and give French citizens priority over non-French residents in areas like social benefits.

Ms. Le Pen ran for the French presidency in 2012, 2017 and 2022, but lost all three times, twice against Mr. Macron.

Mr. Bardella, Ms. Le Pen’s protégé, officially took over as the party’s president in 2022. The son of Italian immigrants, Mr. Bardella, 28, grew up in the Parisian suburbs and was recently re-elected as a member of the European Parliament. Mild-mannered and impeccably dressed, he embodies the National Rally’s efforts to remake its image.

What happens if no clear majority emerges?

That is uncertain. Mr. Macron would have limited options in terms of how to proceed.

The president could try to build a new coalition, but France is not accustomed to doing so, unlike Germany. And the three main blocs expected to prevail in the lower house — the far right, the left-wing alliance and Mr. Macron’s centrist coalition — have radically different agendas and, in some cases, have expressed extreme animosity toward each other.

It is unclear how France moves forward if no working majority can be cobbled together.

One possibility being discussed by analysts is having a caretaker government that handles the day-to-day business of running the country until there is a political breakthrough, as has happened in Belgium. But this, too, would be a departure from French tradition.

If no clear majority emerges, the country could be headed for months of political deadlock or turmoil. Mr. Macron, who has ruled out resigning, cannot call new legislative elections for another year.

How does the two-round election work?

France’s 577 electoral districts — one for each seat — cover the mainland, overseas departments and territories, as well as French citizens living abroad. France awards seats to candidates who get the most ballots in each district.

Any number of candidates can compete in the first round in each district, but there are specific thresholds to reach the second round.

While in most cases the runoff will feature the top two vote-getters, it might feature three or even four candidates if they are able to get a number of votes equal to at least 12.5 percent of registered voters in their districts.

This is usually rare, but high participation makes it more likely, and there were over 300 three-way runoffs after the first round last week. Many parties — especially on the left — said they would pull out third-place candidates from races where the National Rally was ahead, to avoid splitting the vote and to help prevent the far right from winning an absolute majority.

Whoever wins the most votes in the runoff wins the race.

Under some conditions, a candidate who gets more than 50 percent of the vote in the first round wins outright. But only 76 of the country’s 577 legislative seats were won that way on Sunday.

SOURCE: https://www.nytimes.com/2024/07/01/world/europe/france-election-national-rally.html
 
Violent attacks shock France ahead of crunch vote

More than 50 candidates and activists in France have come under physical attack in the run-up to Sunday's tense final round of parliamentary elections, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin has said.

He revealed the figure after government spokeswoman Prisca Thevenot, her deputy and a party activist were brutally assaulted as they put up election posters in Meudon, south-west of Paris.

The motive for the attack is not clear, but Ms Thevenot returned to Meudon on Thursday with Prime Minister Gabriel Attal, who condemned what he called "attacks of intolerable cowardice".

The spate of assaults across France reflects the febrile mood on the final day of campaigning in an election that the far-right National Rally (RN) is poised to win.

Although RN is well ahead in the polls, 217 candidates have dropped out from local run-off races so another candidate has a better chance of stopping them winning an outright majority in the National Assembly.

Mr Darmanin told news channel BFMTV the attacks were taking place in a climate in which France was "on edge" and more than 30 people had been arrested.

He said the attackers were either people who had "spontaneously become angry" or they were the "ultra-left, ultra-right or other political groups".

Images filmed from a block of flats showed the youths swarming around the candidate, her deputy Virginie Lanlo and a party activist for President Emmanuel Macron's Ensemble alliance.

Ms Thevenot told Le Parisien website that when she and her colleagues objected to the youths defacing party posters "they immediately attacked one of my activists, injuring Virginie". Ms Lanlo suffered an arm injury, while the activist was punched and hit with a scooter, ending up with a broken jaw. The car windscreen was also smashed by the scooter.

Three teenagers and a man aged 20 were arrested by police and the incident was quickly condemned across the political spectrum.

Mr Attal called on people to "reject the climate of violence and hatred that's taking hold", while RN leader Jordan Bardella said one of his "big commitments as prime minister" would be to "combat record insecurity and repeat offending".

Mr Darmanin has announced that 30,000 police will be deployed across France for Sunday's vote in an attempt to prevent "the ultra-left or ultra-right" from stirring up trouble.

The BBC spoke to voters in his constituency in northern France on Thursday who said they feared youths would go on the rampage whoever won, to express their anger at the political system.

Law and order is one of RN's big priorities, alongside immigration and tax cuts to target the cost-of-living crisis.

RN candidates have also come under attack. Marie Dauchy described being "violently assaulted" as she campaigned at a market in La Rochette near Grenoble in the south-east.

A conservative candidate allied with RN, Nicolas Conquer, complained that he and a female colleague had been pelted with eggs. And last month another RN candidate was treated in hospital after he was set upon while handing out pamphlets.

Having won 33.2% of the vote in the first round of the snap election, called out of the blue by President Macron, Mr Bardella's party is now aiming to win an absolute majority in the 577-seat National Assembly.

But his political opponents have agreed to do all they can to block the far right from winning enough seats to form a government.

Seventy-six seats were won outright in the first round by candidates who won more than half the local vote in their constituency, including 39 RN candidates and their allies.

The other 501 seats will be settled in run-off votes, and 217 third-placed candidates have pulled out of the race to hand a rival a better chance of defeating RN. Of those 217 withdrawals, 130 candidates came from the left-wing New Popular Front and 81 from the Macron alliance.

Marine Le Pen has complained bitterly about the operation to secure "mass withdrawals", and blamed those who sought to "stay in power against the will of the people".

However, she said she thought there was still a chance of winning an absolute majority, if the electorate turned out in big numbers.

The latest Ifop poll suggests RN will win 210-240 seats, short of the 289 it needs to form a government. That is down on the 240-270 range of seats that it was estimated to win after the first round.

Nevertheless there is fear among some of France's minorities of what RN might do if it gets into power.

It aims to give French citizens “national preference” over immigrants for jobs and housing and to abolish the right to automatic French citizenship for children of foreign parents, if those children have spent five years in France from the age of 11 to 18.

Dual citizens would also be barred from dozens of sensitive jobs.

One Muslim woman in a district that voted 54% for RN last Sunday told the BBC that RN was gaining ground with every election that took place.

Meanwhile, prosecutors are investigating an extremist "patriotic network" website that published a list of almost 100 lawyers "for eliminating", after they signed an open letter against National Rally.

On the eve of France's quarter-final tie against Portugal in the European Championships in Germany, national football captain Kylian Mbappé called on voters to "make the right choice".

After Sunday's "catastrophic" first-round results, he said "we can't put the country into the hands of those people", without specifying who they were.

BBC
 

Kylian Mbappé laments ‘catastrophic’ French election vote for National Rally​

Kylian Mbappé has branded the first-round results of France’s snap parliamentary election “catastrophic”, urging voters to turn out in force and fend off the threat of a National Rally-controlled government when polls open for the runoff vote on Sunday.

In the latest of several interventions by members of the France national football team, the influential captain Mbappé warned that the country must take its chance to ensure the far right, anti-immigration party is unable to seize power in what has become a tumultuous political battle.

“It’s an urgent situation,” he said when asked for his thoughts on a parlous state of affairs that saw National Rally win 33% of the popular vote in last weekend’s first round. “We cannot let our country fall into the hands of these people. It is pressing. We saw the results, it’s catastrophic. We really hope it’s going to change: that everyone is going to rally together, go and vote, and vote for the correct party.”

Mbappé emphasised the importance of voting “now, more than ever”. France’s players are currently in Germany for the European Championship but they have maintained close attention on events back home and, unlike their English counterparts, a number of them have felt comfortable commenting on political matters.

Speaking on Monday after their victory over Belgium, the defender Jules Koundé said he was “disappointed” with the level of support for a party that “seek to take away our freedom and take away the fact that we live together”. He stated that previous non-voters must be persuaded to the ballot box in order to ensure the extreme right do not gain an absolute majority.

Before the tournament began, the forwards Marcus Thuram and Ousmane Dembélé both made similar exhortations to those eligible to vote. Mbappé joined them, saying at the time that he is “against extreme views and against ideas that divide people”.

Those comments were criticised by, among others, the National Rally leader Jordan Bardella. Mbappé, who recently signed for the Champions League winners Real Madrid, is France’s star player and a figure whose voice holds considerable weight among the country’s youth.

France face Portugal in a quarter-final on Friday and it means Mbappé, who will again play in a mask after breaking his nose in the group stage, will face a former Real Madrid forward in Cristiano Ronaldo. It is widely held that this could be the moment Mbappé, who is 25, takes the baton of greatness from the 39-year-old Portugal legend. “He is one of a kind,” Mbappé said. “He has shaped football, inspired generations, scored goals. I can only sing his praises.”

Source: The Guardian
 
France ends ugly campaign and draws breath before historic vote

France’s rushed and sometimes violent election campaign is over, brought to an end with stark appeals from political leaders ahead of Sunday’s pivotal vote.

Centrist Prime Minister Gabriel Attal said on Friday night that a far-right government would “unleash hatred and violence”.

But the leader of the National Rally, Jordan Bardella, accused his rivals of immoral, anti-democratic behaviour, and he urged voters to mobilise and give him an outright majority.

One in three French voters backed National Rally (RN) last Sunday, in the first round of parliamentary elections.

The choice a week on is between France’s first far-right government of modern times or political deadlock, and voters fear there is turmoil ahead whoever wins.

The climate is so fraught that 30,000 extra police are being deployed.

Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said 51 candidates, or their deputies or party activists, had been physically attacked by people of varying backgrounds, including some who were “spontaneously angry”.

In one incident, an extremist network published a list of almost 100 lawyers "for eliminating", after they signed an open letter against National Rally.

President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to call it less than a month ago came as a shock, but the consequences are unknown.

When voters speak about the election, the tension is often palpable.

Kaltoun’s hair is covered and says in her town on the border with Belgium, where RN won the first round, she and her daughter have felt increasingly uncomfortable. “It’s a remark or a look; each election it’s got worse.”

In nearby Tourcoing, Gérald Darmanin is facing a strong challenge to hold his seat from the far-right candidate who was just 800 votes behind him last Sunday.

That is why left-wing candidate Leslie Mortreux decided to pull out of the second round to give him a better chance of defeating RN.

In the 500 seats being decided by run-off votes, 217 candidates from the left-wing New Popular Front and the Macron Ensemble alliance have withdrawn to block the RN from winning. Although dozens of three-way races are still going ahead, 409 seats will now be decided by one-on-one contests.

After the first round, some opinion polls gave RN a chance of winning an outright majority in the National Assembly.

The final polls of the campaign suggest that is no longer on the cards. Even if RN boss Marine Le Pen believes they still have a “serious chance” of winning the 289 seats they need to control the Assembly, the pollsters say about 200 is a more realistic figure.

One major poll that came out hours before the end of the campaign suggested that the awkward series of withdrawals by third-placed left-wing and centrist candidates had succeeded in scuppering the hopes of National Rally boss Marine Le Pen’s protege of becoming prime minister aged 28.

“We are presiding over the birth of a single Mélenchon-Macron party,” Jordan Bardella complained. “And this dishonorable alliance has been formed with the single goal of keeping us from winning.”

The Popular Front is made up of Socialists, Greens and Communists, but its biggest party is France Unbowed, led by radical firebrand Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

He is widely condemned by his rivals as an extremist, and he is certainly no ally of President Emmanuel Macron.

Despite their agreement to keep out the far right, there is no love lost between the two camps.

“You don’t beat the far right with the far left,” the interior minister said, even though a France Unbowed candidate had pulled out to help him win.

The Macron centrists are third in the polls, well behind the Popular Front as well as the National Rally.

“In France we’re fed up with Macron, and I’m more in the centre” said Marc in Tourcoing. “The cost of living is bad, and the rich have become richer and the poor are poorer."

National Rally has focused its campaign on media appearances by Mr Bardella and Marine Le Pen, and there have been claims of “phantom candidates” barely showing up in some areas.

When one candidate in the city of Orléans, Élodie Babin, qualified for the second round with little attempt at campaigning she later insisted she had been ill for 10 days.

RN is especially popular in rural areas.

In Mennecy, a sleepy town in the Essonne area south of Paris, Mathieu Hillaire was holding his final campaign event as Popular Front candidate. He is in a duel with RN candidate Nathalie Da Conceicao Carvalho, after the pro-Macron candidate pulled out to give her left-wing rival a better chance of blocking the far right.

Mr Hillaire said while the climate was less tense locally than elsewhere some people were still worried: “Of the voters that I’ve met, there are many who are scared of Jordan Bardella.”

Many of RN’s policies focus on cutting the cost of living and tackling law and order, but their anti-immigration plans have raised particular concerns.

RN aims to give French citizens “national preference” over immigrants for jobs and housing, and wants to abolish the right to automatic French citizenship for children of foreign parents, if those children have spent five years in France from the age of 11 to 18.

Dual citizens would also be barred from dozens of sensitive jobs.

Prime Minister Gabriel Attal spoke of an “uncertainty and worry” among the French people.

He said in the first round his party had averted the risk of Jean-Luc Mélenchon winning a majority. Now the risk came from a far right whose policies would “unleash hatred and violence with a plan to stigmatise some of our fellow citizens” and be catastrophic for the French economy.

But what happens on Sunday night if there is deadlock, and no obvious way forward towards forming a government?

The Olympic Games are now only 20 days away, and there is a suggestion that France might have no government or prime minister when it hosts such a high-profile global event.

Mr Attal, who had earlier suggested his minority government might stay in place “as long as necessary”, was far more vague on Friday night.

“Next week I don’t know what I’ll be doing, where’ll I’ll be doing it,” he said. “But I know who I’ll be doing it for: the people of France, that’s all that counts for me.”

BBC
 
French far right seeks vote win but deadlock looms

France is voting in one of its most significant elections in years, with the far right hoping for a historic victory, but with political stalemate the more likely result.

This is the first time the anti-immigration National Rally (RN) of Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella has had a realistic chance of running the government and taking outright control of the National Assembly.

But after the RN’s first-round victory in snap parliamentary elections last Sunday, hundreds of rival candidates dropped out to give others a better chance of defeating the far right.

Voting began in mainland France at 08:00 (06:00 GMT) and the first exit polls will be released 12 hours later.

Whatever the result, it is difficult to see President Emmanuel Macron coming out of this well.

Four weeks ago, he said it was the responsible solution to call a snap vote in response to the RN’s victory in European elections, minutes after the party’s 28-year-old leader Jordan Bardella challenged him to do so.

The two-round election came as a shock to a country gearing up for the start of the Paris Olympics on 26 July. Security was already tight and now 30,000 police have been deployed for a period of heightened political tension.

There are fears of violence in Paris and other French cities, whatever the outcome of the vote, and a planned protest outside the National Assembly on Sunday evening has been banned.

In Dreux, a historic old town on the road to Normandy, Sunday’s vote falls on the day the Olympic flame is passing through. “For us it’s a massive thing, bigger than the election,” says Pauline in the tourist office.

The flame has been travelling around France for almost two months, and Dreux has planned a weekend of festivities to mark its arrival.

“Macron should have waited until after the Olympics,” Dreux resident Antoine told the BBC.

Veteran commentator Nicolas Baverez believes the president has not just blown up his term in office and opened the gates of power wide for the far right. “He’s compromised the running of the Paris 2024 Olympics, which could deliver a final blow to France’s credit and its image,” he wrote in Le Point on the eve of the vote.

The constituency that includes Dreux is one of the races to watch in the second round of this election.

Candidates such as Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella have already won their seats, by winning more than half the vote. But another 500 contests are being decided in run-offs, mostly involving either two or three candidates.

Former conservative cabinet minister Olivier Marleix was beaten in the first round by far-right candidate Olivier Dubois. They both qualified for the run-off, along with a candidate from the left-wing New Popular Front, which is in second place nationally.

But because Nadia Faveris was narrowly beaten into third by her conservative rival, she pulled out of the race “to block National Rally”.

One voter, Morgan, was sceptical that anything would change in the town, whoever won.

There have been 217 of these withdrawals across France, including 130 Popular Front candidates and 81 from the president’s Ensemble alliance.

And that has dramatically changed the balance of this pivotal general election.

There are 577 seats in the French parliament and projections after Sunday’s first round gave the RN a fighting chance of securing an outright majority of 289. However, final opinion polls on Friday suggested that was out of reach, with 205 to 210 seats as a potential maximum.

The parties trying to block an RN victory range from the radical left, Communists and Greens to the Macron centrists and conservatives. They say they are defending the country from the extreme policies of the far right.

National Rally has watered down many of its policies but still wants to give French citizens “national preference” over immigrants for jobs and housing. It aims to abolish the right of automatic citizenship to the children of immigrants who have spent five years aged 11 to 18 in France. It also wants to bar dual nationals from dozens of sensitive jobs.

Opinion polls are not necessarily reliable. Each of the 500 races is a local contest and voters do not follow recommendations from political parties.

If the RN managed upwards of 250 seats, it might seek out allies to form a minority government. President Macron's party had to make do with similar numbers until he became frustrated with his limited ability to pass reforms in parliament.

That kind of RN government is unlikely, believes Prof Armin Steinbach of HEC business school in Paris. It would soon face a vote of no confidence, he believes, and under the constitution, France cannot have another general election for at least another year.

Another potential scenario is a “grand coalition” that would involve most of the other parties, except for the radical France Unbowed (LFI) party, which the Macron alliance and conservatives reject as extremists.

This idea has gained some momentum in recent days, but Greens leader Marine Tondelier has made clear “there’ll be no Macronist prime minister”, whatever happens.

There is also talk of a technocrat government, similar to those that ran Italy during the eurozone debt crisis. But instead of choosing experts from outside politics, it might include politicians with proven expertise in particular fields.

In any case, France is entering uncharted territory, says Jean-Yves Dormagen of the Cluster 17 institute.

President Macron himself has said he is not about to resign and will continue to serve out his final three years in office.

“We will have Macron as a lame duck president who created this mess without having to do so,” Prof Steinbach told the BBC. “And he’s losing legitimacy.”

The immediate concern for France is to have some kind of government in place during the Olympic Games.

Constitutional expert Benjamin Morel believes the president could form a national unity government until the end of the Paris Games.

“That would give the parties time to to reach an agreement between now and the start of the school year and the next budget,” he told Le Figaro.

BBC
 

France voter turnout high, with far-right seeking power​


Voter turnout in France’s parliamentary run-off election on Sunday rose sharply from the last time in 2022 in a ballot that could see the far-right National Rally (RN) emerge as the strongest force.

Although the RN is expected to win the most seats in the National Assembly, the latest opinion polls indicated it may fall short of an absolute majority.

A hung parliament would severely dent President Emmanuel Macron’s authority and herald a prolonged period of instability and policy deadlock in the euro zone’s second-biggest economy.

Should the nationalist, eurosceptic RN secure a majority, it would usher in France’s first far-right government since World War Two and send shockwaves through the European Union at a time populist parties are strengthening support across the continent.

Turnout stood at 26.3 percent by around noon (1000 GMT), up from 18.99 percent during the second voting round in 2022, the interior ministry said, highlighting the population’s extreme interest in an election that has highlighted polarized views in France.

It was the highest midday turnout level since 1981, pollster Harris Interactive and Ipsos said.

Voting closes at 6 p.m. (1600 GMT) in towns and small cities and 8 p.m. in bigger cities. Pollsters will deliver initial projections based on early counts from a sample of voting
stations at 8 p.m.

“The country is facing three radically opposed views of society", said Olivier Grisal, a retiree, as he walked towards his polling site in the middle-class town of Conflans Sainte-Honorine, west of Paris, with his wife.

“There’s the far right, there is Macronism which in my view has also dangerous and has dictatorial tendencies and then there’s the left which is also not great,” he said.

Opinion polls forecast Marine Le Pen’s RN will emerge the dominant force in the National Assembly as voters punish Macron over a cost of living crisis and being out of touch with the hardships people face.

However, the RN is seen failing to reach the 289-seat target that would outright hand Le Pen’s 28-year-old protégé Jordan Bardella the prime minister’s job with a working majority.

The far right’s projected margin of victory has narrowed since Macron’s centrist Together alliance and the left-wing New Popular Front (NPF) pulled scores of candidates from three-way races in the second round in a bid to unify the anti-RN vote.

“France is on the cliff-edge and we don’t know if we’re going to jump,” Raphael Glucksmann, a member of the European Parliament who led France’s leftist ticket in last month’s European vote, told France Inter radio last week.

Political violence surged during the short three-week campaign. Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin has said authorities recorded more than 50 physical assaults on candidates and campaigners.

Some luxury boutiques along the Champs Elysees boulevard, including the Louis Vuitton store, barricaded windows and Darmanin said he was deploying 30,000 police amid concerns of violent protests should the far-right win.

A longtime pariah for many due to its history of racism and antisemitism, the RN has broadened its support beyond its traditional base along the Mediterranean coast and the deindustrialized north, tapping into voter anger at Macron over straitened household budgets, security, and immigration worries.

“French people have a real desire for change,” Le Pen told TF1 TV on Wednesday.

Macron stunned the country and angered many of his political allies and supporters when he called the snap election after a humbling by the RN in last month’s European parliamentary vote, hoping to wrong-foot his rivals in a legislative election.

Whatever the final result, his political agenda now appears dead, three years before the end of his presidency.

“Our country is going through a serious crisis, we are only a few hours away from a new order,” said engineer Pascal Cuzange who cast his vote for Macron’s alliance more in protest against the alternatives than in support for the president.

“There is a risk that the country becomes ungovernable.”

France’s business elite is also anxious about the risk of volatile politics and instability ahead.

“We are very concerned about what’s going to happen,” Ross McInnes, chairman of aerospace company Safran, told Reuters. “Whatever the political configuration that will come out of Sunday’s vote, we are probably at the end of a reform cycle that started ten years ago.”

An RN-led government would raise major questions over who really speaks for France in Europe and on the global stage, and over where the EU is headed given France’s powerful role in the bloc. EU laws would be almost certain to restrict its plans to crack down on immigration.

The RN pledges to reduce immigration, loosen legislation to expel illegal migrants and tighten rules around family reunification. On the economy, the RN has watered down some of its frontline policy pledges to shore up household spending and lower the retirement age, constrained by France’s ballooning budget deficit.

Bardella says the RN would decline to form a government if it doesn’t win a majority, although Le Pen has said it might try if it falls just short.

France is not used to building broad cross-party coalitions in the event of a hung parliament. Prime Minister Gabriel Attal, who looks likely to lose his job, is among a number of political leaders who have ruled such a scenario out. Another possibility is a caretaker government that manages day-to-day affairs but without a reform mandate.

French asset prices have risen on expectations the RN won’t win a majority, with banking shares up and the risk premium investors demand to hold French debt narrowing. Economists question whether the RN’s hefty spending plans are fully funded.

Pensioner Claude Lefloche said France’s future was at stake.

“France is sick, the economy is sick,” he said in the middle-class town of Conflans Sainte-Honorine, west of Paris. “My vote today will be an expression of dissatisfaction.”

 

Turnout approaching 60% late in the afternoon​

A five p.m. local time (1500 UTC) update on turnout shows higher figures than at the same stage of France's last parliamentary election in 2022.

Some 59.7% of eligible voters had cast ballots, with another three hours left to vote, the Interior Ministry said.

That compares to just 38.11% at the same time in the second round of 2022's election. Turnout tends to be much lower at these votes in France than for presidential elections, which tend to attract at least 70% of voters.

In these snap elections called by Macron, turnout looks on course to more or less mirror the figures France would tend to expect when selecting a president.

The partial figures were similar to the figures from last weekend's first round of voting, in fact, they were slightly higher.

 
Wow projections show the far right have fallen to 3rd. After all that talk of Le Pen winning !
 
French people reject the far right - again

The French have said it again: they do not want the far right in power.

They gave them a big win in the European elections; they gave them a big win in the first round of this parliamentary election.

But when it came to a vote that really counted, just as in the presidentials, they drew back from the brink.

This surprise upset which has reduced the National Rally (RN) to third place – with perhaps 150 seats compared with predictions a week ago of nearly 300 – is due entirely to voters turning out in large numbers to stop them.

The RN will argue – with some justice – that this was only possible because the other parties came together to play the system.

They note that the disparate parties of the left all suddenly forgot their differences to form a new anti-RN coalition; and then that the Macronites and the left forgot their differences too.

They note that nothing unites these politicians (from Edouard Philippe on the centre right to Philippe Poutou of the Trotskyist left) except their opposition to the RN. And that this lack of agreement bodes ill for the future.

Nonetheless, the fact remains. Most people do not want the far right – either because they oppose its ideas, or because they fear the unrest that would inevitably attend its coming to power.

So if Jordan Bardella will not be the country’s next prime minister, who will be?

That is the great unknown. And contrary to convention following previous French parliamentary elections, it may be weeks before we have an answer.

Because something has happened these past tense weeks to change the very nature of the French political system.


 
They’ve come out and said one of the first things they’re going to do is recognize Palestine.
 
Europe is voting exactly how Argentina voted to destroy their economy forever.

How are leftist gaining power eventhough there is clear evidence of their useless economic policies.

Good for Asia and Africa, weak Europe is good for the world.
 
Europe is voting exactly how Argentina voted to destroy their economy forever.

How are leftist gaining power eventhough there is clear evidence of their useless economic policies.

Good for Asia and Africa, weak Europe is good for the world.
Result of the run offs is as per expectations only, Opinion polls tend to underestimate consolidation of coalition votes.
Right's vote share is almost 37% and increase of 4% from the first round. Total vote share of the centre and left actually dipped in run offs. Just smart politics prevents Le Pen in power.
France is still in dangerous waters.
 

What just happened in France's shock election?​


Nobody expected this. High drama, for sure, but this was a shock.

When the graphics flashed up on all the big French channels, it was not the far right of Marine Le Pen and her young prime minister-in-waiting Jordan Bardella who were on course for victory.

It was the left who had clinched it, and Emmanuel Macron's centrists had staged an unexpected comeback, pushing the far-right National Rally (RN) into third.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the veteran left-wing firebrand seen by his critics as an extremist, wasted no time in proclaiming victory.

"The president must call on the New Popular Front to govern," he told supporters in Stalingrad square, insisting Mr Macron had to recognise that he and his coalition had lost.

His alliance, drawn up in a hurry for President Macron's surprise election, includes his own radical France Unbowed, along with Greens, Socialists and Communists and even Trotskyists. But their victory is nowhere big enough to govern.

France is going to have a hung parliament. None of the three blocs can form an outright majority by themselves of 289 seats in the 577-seat parliament.

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As soon as he had spoken, Mr Mélenchon went off to a much bigger square, Place de la République, to celebrate his success with a crowd of 8,000 people, according to police numbers.

For National Rally's supporters the champagne was fast turning flat at their celebration-gone-wrong in the Bois de Vincennes forest to the south-west of Paris.

Only a week ago all the talk had been of a possible absolute majority, and Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella were still talking up their chances a couple of days before the vote.

Marine Le Pen put a brave face on it. "Two years ago we had just seven MPs. Tonight RN is the first party in France in terms of MP numbers."

In the last parliament they had 88 MPs and now more than 140, so she was right. And no other party has more than 100 MPs, because the Macronists and the Popular Front are both coalitions.

Jordan Bardella complained that his party had been foiled by unnatural "alliances of dishonour", forged by a "single party" made up of the Macron camp and the left. He wasn't wrong about the unnatural alliance, but it is only a temporary one of convenience.

More than 200 candidates who saw themselves as part of a "republican front", pulled out of the second round so that a better-placed rival could stop RN winning.

Not even Marine Le Pen's younger sister, Marie-Caroline, was able to offer a glimmer of good news from her own election battle around Le Mans.

Her bid to get into parliament failed by just 225 votes, defeated by Mr Mélenchon's candidate, Elise Leboucher, after the Macron candidate dropped out.

Turnout, at 66.63%, was the highest in a parliamentary second round since 1997. Even if RN's vote held up, this time it was having to contend with non-RN votes often being used tactically to create a "barrage" or block against them.

All over France, RN was losing run-offs it needed to win.

Some of their candidates were less than appealing.

There was the woman who promised to stop making racist jokes if she was elected in Puy-de-Dôme; and then there was the ill-equipped young man in Haute-Savoie in the south-east who took part in a TV debate with his centrist rival and made barely any sense on anything.

They both lost, but they reflected RN's big advance in rural areas.

RN scored 32% of the vote - 37% with their right-wing allies - and for more than 10 million voters a taboo has been broken.

In Meaux, east of Paris, RN won but not by much.

After casting her vote, Claudine said people she knew tended not to admit to voting RN, unless they were with close friends.

Before the projected result at 8pm, there was fevered speculation about whether President Macron would come out and speak. Word spread that he had gone into a meeting 90 minutes earlier.

Gabriel Attal, his beleaguered prime minister, eventually appeared to give the government's response.

Four weeks ago, he had sat stony-faced and arms folded opposite the president as Mr Macron revealed his election plan.

Now he announced he would be handing his boss his resignation in the morning, but he would stay on as long as duty called.

Mr Attal is supposed to fly off on Tuesday evening to a Nato meeting in Washington. It's hard to imagine him being replaced just yet.

France has entered a period of political instability with no obvious way out. There had been talk of unrest on the streets, but only a handful of incidents were reported in Paris and cities including Nantes and Lyon.

All eyes are now on the president, who will have to navigate a way out of this deadlock.

The new National Assembly is due to convene in 10 days' time, but the Paris Olympics starts on 26 July and France could do with a period of calm.

Left-leaning newspaper Libération summed up the whole night with the headline C'est Ouf.

"It's crazy," in colloquial French, but for them it's also a relief that voters brought RN's bid for power to a halt.

 

French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal announces resignation after election defeat​


French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal announced his resignation from the government of President Emmanuel Macron on Monday (8 July), following his heavy defeat in the second and decisive round of the French parliamentary elections. The Nouveau Front Populaire, a left-wing alliance, appears to have won the parliamentary elections against all odds.

Attal added that he would "stay on as long as necessary" in the context of the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, which begin in the capital later this month. In his speech, Attal added that "no majority can be led by the extremes". But he acknowledged the "historic result" achieved by the far right.

Attal and Macron's centrist coalition has become the second-largest bloc in parliament, despite the defeat. The alliance is likely to retain around 150 to 170 seats from the 250 the coalition previously held. The French lower house has a total of 577 seats.

In France, the prime minister is appointed by the president, but the candidate must be approved by parliament. So the prime minister often comes from the party or coalition with the most seats. Whether this will work for the Nouveau Front Populaire remains to be seen.

Attal became France's youngest prime minister in January this year. He was 34 at the time.

 
French PM to stay in job 'for time being'

As we've just reported, French President Macron has asked Gabriel Attal to stay on as PM for the "stability of the country".

Attal said he would resign as prime minister on Sunday when Macron's centrist Ensemble came second to the left-wing New Popular Front (NFP).

The 34-year-old Attal made history when he assumed office earlier this year as France's youngest prime minister.

We will bring you more details on this breaking development as it happens.

Reuters
 
French President Emmanuel Macron broke his silence on the political earthquake that took place in France last weekend, calling on mainstream parties to work together to form a coalition government

In an open letter to regional newspapers on Wednesday, Macron said “no one won” the parliamentary election and called on mainstream parties with “republican values” to form a governing alliance.

“Let us place our hopes in the ability of our political leaders to demonstrate a sense of harmony and conciliation in your interest, and in the interest of the country,” he wrote, according to a CNBC translation.

“It is in light of these principles that I will decide on the appointment of the prime minister.”

France’s left-wing alliance, the New Popular Front (NFP) clinched the most seats in the second round of voting last Sunday, beating the far-right National Rally which had won the first round.

With just 180 seats, the NFP fell short of achieving an absolute majority of 289 in the 577-seat National Assembly, France’s lower house of parliament. Macron’s centrist ‘Together’ bloc came second in the ballot with 163 seats, and RN and its allies won 143 seats.

France’s hung-parliament scenario is not familiar territory, and parties on the left, center and right are now jockeying to form alliances and a viable coalition government.

That’s not an easy task when the political blocs that fought the snap election are made up of a range of parties with a variety of ideological positions — for instance, the NFP includes the more radical anti-capitalist France Unbowed and French Communist Party to the more moderate and center-left Socialist Party and the Greens.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon — the leader of the largest party in the NFP, France Unbowed — earlier this week called on Macron to allow the bloc to form a government, and said that the French president should accept its pick for prime minister. The NFP has not yet agreed on a potential candidate for the post.

French presidents traditionally select a prime minister from the party that wins the most votes in a parliamentary election, but they are not obliged to do so. They can reject the nomination of a party, if it’s not seen to have enough seats to form a stable government.

In his letter, Macron signaled a wish for parties with “republican values” — code for more centrist parties, rather than far-left or far-right factions — to lead a government.

What’s the likely next step?
Analysts say a minority center-right government is the new base-case scenario for France, following Macron’s smoke signals.

“The most likely solution — but perhaps short-lived — now appears to be a minority coalition between Macron’s much-reduced center and the ex-Gaullist center-right,” Eurasia Group’s Mujtaba Rahman and Anna-Carina Hamker, said in a note Wednesday.

They gave a 55% probability of success to such a centrist minority coalition — made up of Macron’s Ensemble (“Together”) bloc and the center-right Les Republicains (LR, with 66 seats) plus up to six centrist independents.

Source: CNBC
 
Risk of far right gaining power has not gone away, warns French Green leader

The French Green leader, Marine Tondelier, has said the risk of the far right rising to power in France has not disappeared after the snap election, and politics must urgently change to regain voters’ trust.

“It was a warning,” Tondelier said of this month’s election, where a spectacular rush of tactical voting in the final round held back Marine Le Pen’s far-right, anti-immigration National Rally. The RN’s first-round surge had brought it the closest it had ever been to a parliament majority and entering government.

“The Republic held on, but for how much longer?” Tondelier said in an interview in her Paris office, days after a left alliance including her Green party finished ahead in the election in a surprise result.

Talks are now under way over what type of government France could form and Tondelier, a 37-year-old environmentalist, is among names being suggested for prime minister – a prospect she has not commented on, saying policy is more important than personalities.

In the interview, she said it was crucial that France “does not continue the same discriminatory public policies that break, exhaust and damage [society] for another two years” or there could be a fresh surge by the far right in the presidential election of 2027.

“There are a lot of people who want and need social justice and we are fighting for those people. Whether or not they voted for us, or didn’t vote at all, we’ll fight for them all the same,” she said.

The broad left alliance known as the New Popular Front – which includes Tondelier’s party, Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s leftwing France Unbowed, the Socialists and Communists – finished first but fell far short of an absolute majority. Tondelier wrote on social media this week that Macron – who has insisted that no one political force won the election and called for a broad coalition – was refusing to accept the election results. She said his denial was “damaging the country and democracy”.

Tondelier, a local councillor from northern France who took over the French Green party (EELV) two years ago, went from a relative unknown to a household name during the snap election campaign.

Commentators said she stood out for her impassioned TV appearances, humorous one-liner put-downs of far-right politicians and her trademark green jacket, which she started wearing as a subliminal way of raising awareness of environmental issues but which now carries such brand recognition that it has its own social media account.

If Tondelier’s heartfelt pleas won over voters on the left and centre, it was because her battle with the far right is deeply personal.

She was born, grew up and still lives in the former coal-mining town of Hénin-Beaumont in the northern rust belt of the Pas-de-Calais. Its population of 27,000 has suffered from factory closures and unemployment, and a decade ago the town went from being a leftwing heartland to Le Pen’s laboratory for gaining power.

Paris-born Le Pen was re-elected as MP for the town last week. But since the far right won Hénin-Beaumont town hall in 2014, Tondelier as a local councillor has fought them in rowdy council meetings. She has complained that the far right so resented opposition that her mic was switched off in meetings where they called her “hysterical” when she kept speaking. She wrote about it in a 2017 book, News from the Front, which caused fury on the far right and reads like a manual for the left’s resistance.

Tondelier, who for five years worked in air quality control, says the years spent facing the far right in northern council meetings was her political training. “I’ve learned everything through getting their political custard pies in my face. It was harsh. It could have made me crack, but actually it’s built me.”

So when the first-round election results on 30 June saw the far right top the poll across more than half of France and come within reach of power, she immediately began working on tactical voting and candidates pulling out to avoid splitting the vote. “I was 10 years ahead of everyone else’s anxiety. I saw very experienced politicians stupefied, in denial or anger, not knowing what to do, panicking, defeatist or saying it was too late … but I was very calm and determined.”

Tondelier had herself already stood aside in several elections to facilitate tactical voting to hold back the far right in her northern area, including the 2015 regional elections. “I know the political and human cost of it,” she said. This time, she became the media voice of the huge tactical voting drive nationwide.

Five generations of Tondelier’s family come from the mining town where she still lives and raises her young son with her partner, who coaches the town’s triathlon club. One side of the family were farmers. Her great-grandmother ran a tobacconist’s and became the first female taxi driver in the area. Her mother, a dentist, still practises in the town, as does her father, an acupuncturist and osteopath.

Taking on people bigger than herself has become Tondelier’s political trademark, her supporters say. She joined the Greens as a student in 2009 during the European election campaign by the farmer José Bové, impressed that years earlier he had trashed a half-built McDonald’s in a protest campaign. “The David versus Goliath struggle has always spoken to me,” she said.

She went with other Greens to protest at the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen in 2009, and when she returned she became vegetarian for environmental reasons, realising she had only been eating meat to be polite. In rural, northern France, it was bizarre to be a vegetarian at that time, she said. When she told people she didn’t eat meat, she would often hear: “Don’t worry love, we’ll give you ham instead.”

Tondelier thinks one of the reasons the young far-right leader Jordan Bardella refused to debate her during the election campaign was because in her northern town she had learned to use humour effectively against the far right.

She said: “If you shout, they shout. It’s like a mudfight with a pig: you can train and make progress but it’s their favourite sport so you’re going to end up dirty and in the mud.” Humour, on the other hand, destabilised them, she said. “And it’s a way to try to stay happy and positive.”

Tondelier’s famous green jacket hangs in her office beside her supporter’s cap for the northern football club Lens, where she goes to games. She bought her first formal green jacket secondhand for €50 and had to buy a second one during the campaign when it was getting threadbare. She also has a casual denim green jacket for demos and a green puffa for winter. “My idea was that it’s hard to bring ecology into the conversation, so if I wore a green jacket it would be a subliminal message … Now everyone’s asking for the jacket, it’s more famous than I am.”

Tondelier says humanism in politics is crucial, and she learned this from helping charities who work with families sleeping rough on the northern coast. During the 2015 regional election campaign, she regularly drove up to Calais to the vast shantytown where up to 8,000 refugees and migrants were living in squalid conditions. “I used to cry the whole way home from shame,” she said. She feels that if all French people spent a day helping charities working with migrants, they might change their mind about politics.

When Tondelier had her son in December 2018, some told her that if she wanted to quit campaigning and politics, parenthood could be an honourable excuse. That weekend, however, the biggest gilets jaunes anti-government protests over fuel tax took place at the same time as France’s major climate march. “I saw that all happening and I said of course we’ll carry on. We’ve got to save biodiversity and the climate.”

THE GUARDIAN
 
Europe is voting exactly how Argentina voted to destroy their economy forever.

How are leftist gaining power eventhough there is clear evidence of their useless economic policies.

Good for Asia and Africa, weak Europe is good for the world.
I dont think that's good. Europe is not a rival for third world. We all fall and rise together. A dramatic fall in West will lead to blight in Asian and European Economies.
 
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