Daily Review: Macron’s Parliamentary Election Gamble Backfires

Daily Review: Macron’s Parliamentary Election Gamble Backfires
Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella appear at the National Rally’s election headquarters following the party’s victory in European Parliament elections, Paris, France, June 9, 2024 (SIPA photo by Chang Martin via AP Images).

The far-right party National Rally, or RN, won the most votes in the first round of France’s snap parliamentary elections yesterday, with around 33 percent of the ballots cast. A coalition of left-wing parties won about 28 percent of the vote, while the centrist party of President Emmanuel Macron, who took a massive gamble in calling the elections last month, took about 20 percent. (New York Times)

Our Take

The results from yesterday’s vote are undoubtedly dismaying for France, given the RN’s track record as a far-right, Euroskeptic party whose anti-immigration agenda includes differentiating between French citizens on the basis of their national origins. But they also do not provide much certainty, especially because things can change rapidly between the first and second rounds of French legislative elections, which take place just a week apart. Still, the vote does clearly signal a few things.

First, what was once considered the RN’s second-round ceiling of 30-40 percent of the vote is now its first-round floor. Long ostracized as taboo in French politics, it is now in the leading position in enough constituencies that it has the inside track to finish as the biggest party in parliament, and potentially even win an absolute majority.

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