The French Left’s Surprise Surge

The French Left’s Surprise Surge
A lectern with signs for the New Popular Front can be seen on the empty stage before Jean-Luc Melenchon’s speech at LFI headquarters on election night, in Paris, France, June 30, 2024 (Sipa photo by Telmo Pinto via AP Images).

The leftist coalition New Popular Front, or NPF, won the most seats in France’s parliament following the second round of voting Sunday, but failed to win a majority. The surprise result prevented the far-right National Rally, or RN, from gaining power after first-round results a week prior suggested the RN was headed for victory. (AP)

Our Take

When French President Emmanuel Macron dissolved parliament and called snap elections nearly a month ago, it was with three stated goals.

The first was to challenge French voters’ commitment to supporting the far right following the RN’s victory in European Parliament elections June 9. On that goal, Macron can feel vindicated, if only because of France’s two-round voting system. Dealmaking between the leftist and centrist coalitions in three-way races prevented the RN from winning as many seats as projected. So while the party and its allies still won the largest share of votes by more than 10 points, its ceiling of 35-40 percent was not enough to bring the far right to power.

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