Le Pen’s far-right party wins first round as Macron’s snap elections gamble backfires

Author: Editors Desk, enjamin DODMAN Source: France 24
July 1, 2024 at 08:09
© Yves Herman, Reuters
© Yves Herman, Reuters

Marine Le Pen’s anti-immigrant National Rally led a first round of voting on Sunday in exceptionally high-stakes elections that could put France’s government in the hands of a far-right party for the first time since World War II. President Emmanuel Macron’s ruling coalition was beaten into third place by a fledgling alliance of the left as the incumbent’s gamble with a snap election backfired spectacularly.

Three weeks after trouncing its rivals in low-turnout European polls, Le Pen’s National Rally (RN) confirmed its status as France’s leading political force in a first round of legislative elections marked by the highest turnout in three decades.  

Le Pen’s camp secured a clear victory, albeit not a decisive one, meaning the vote’s ultimate outcome remains uncertain ahead of a second round of voting on July 7. Macron, whose decision to call the snap election had stunned friends and foes alike, has urged voters to rally against the far right next Sunday. 

RN and its allies on the right took 33.2% of the first-round vote, ahead of the left-wing New Popular Front (NFP) on 28.1%, according to projections by pollsters Ipsos-Talan. Macron’s Ensemble alliance trailed in third place with 21%, followed by the conservative Les Républicains and their partners on 10%. 

Based on those figures, the far-right camp would go on to win between 230 and 280 seats in the National Assembly, the pollsters added, leaving it short of the 289 seats required to win an absolute majority.  

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