France’s ‘New Look’ Far Right Is Outmaneuvering Macron

France’s ‘New Look’ Far Right Is Outmaneuvering Macron
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).

When trying to predict what French President Emmanuel Macron might do next, a safe bet is to assume that he will opt for the most audacious course of action. So while his announcement of snap parliamentary elections after a blowout loss to the far-right National Rally in European Parliament elections on June 9 sent shockwaves across the French political landscape, it should have surprised no one.

The battle lines that Macron has already drawn against rivals on the left and right for the upcoming vote, the first round of which will take place on June 30, echo themes that were crucial to his victories in the 2017 and 2022 presidential elections. Yet this time, Macron faces opponents that have learned to counter the daring gambits that have characterized his political style, starting with his stunning rise in 2017.

On the left, Macron faces a coalition, the Popular Front, comprising the moderate Socialist Party, the Ecologists—France’s green party—and the more radical France Unbowed, or LFI, party, all of which have managed to set aside their deep divisions to present a unified slate for the legislative elections. Macron has contrasted his government’s economic caution with the Popular Front’s promises to massively increase state spending and roll back pension reforms, which have fueled nervousness about France’s fiscal position on financial markets. While the capacity of LFI leader Jean-Luc Melenchon to alienate voters through his polarizing rhetoric may still play into Macron’s hands, public frustration with a cost-of-living crisis and widespread opposition to many of Macron’s reforms could propel the left into a much stronger position after these legislative elections.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.