The French far-right bloc’s unprecedented election win has left Emmanuel Macron’s centrists and a left-wing alliance scrambling to prevent a government takeover.

The far-right National Rally (RN) of Marine Le Pen won a resounding victory in the first round of voting Sunday, with Macron’s centrists trailing in third place behind the left-wing New Popular Front.

Le Pen has urged voters to give the RN an absolute majority during a second round of voting on July 7, which would see the party’s 28-year-old chief Jordan Bardella become prime minister.

But most projections show the RN falling short of an absolute majority, even though the final outcome remains far from certain.

“The extreme right at the threshold of power,” read Monday’s headline in daily Le Monde.

Macron’s camp has begun cooperating with the left-wing alliance in the hopes that tactical voting will prevent the RN winning the 289 seats needed for an absolute majority, which Prime Minister Gabriel Attal said would be “catastrophic.”

Third-place candidates who qualified for the second round have been urged to drop out to present a united front against the far-right.

Macron called in a written statement Sunday night for a “broad” democratic coalition against the far right and convened a cabinet meeting Monday to decide a further course of action.

“Let’s not be mistaken. It’s the far right that’s on its way to the highest office, no one else,” he said at the meeting, according to one participant.

But he did not give any firm instructions to candidates over standing down, sources said.

The deadline to decide whether to stand down is Tuesday evening. According to a provisional count by AFP, more than 150 left-wing or centrist candidates have already dropped out.

Hung parliament?

Analysts say the most likely outcome of the snap election is a hung parliament that could lead to months of political paralysis and chaos, just as Paris is preparing to host the summer Olympic Games.

The RN garnered 33% of the vote Sunday, compared to 28% for the New Popular Front alliance and just over 20% for Macron’s centrist camp.

With a total of 76 candidates elected in the first round, the final composition of the 577-seat National Assembly will be clear only after the second round.

The second round will see a three-way or two-way run-off in the remainder of the seats to be decided – although a tiny number of four-way run-offs are also possible.

The arrival of the anti-immigration RN in government would be a turning point in French modern history – the first time a far-right force has taken power in the country since World War II, when it was occupied by Nazi Germany.

If the RN takes an absolute majority and Bardella, who has no governing experience, becomes prime minister, it would create a tense period of “cohabitation” with Macron, who has vowed to serve out his term until 2027.

‘Bad solutions’

The election results fueled fresh criticism of Macron’s decision to call the vote in the first place, a move he took with only a tight circle of advisors in the hours after his party was trounced by the RN in European elections last month.

The right-wing Le Figaro said in an editorial that the country faced a “tragedy” with only “bad solutions” on offer.

The chaos risks damaging the international credibility of Macron, who is set to attend a NATO summit in Washington immediately after the second round.

U.S. State Department spokesman Vedant Patel said Washington expected to continue its “close cooperation with the French government” regardless of the election results.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said the far-right success was a cause for concern, describing the RN as “a party that sees Europe as the problem and not the solution.”

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said the results represented a “very dangerous” turn for France and Europe.

Russia, which the French government has repeatedly accused of seeking to interfere in domestic politics, is following the election results in France “very closely,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

With elections looming Thursday in Britain, where the left-wing Labour party is expected to end 14 years of right-wing Conservative rule, Labour leader Keir Starmer said the French results were a lesson that “we need to address the everyday concerns of so many people.”

But far-right Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni hailed the results, saying attempts to “demonize” far-right voters were losing impact.

And Hungary’s nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban, whose country is taking over the EU’s rotating presidency, said the election showed that French voters wanted “change.”

The Daily Sabah Newsletter

Keep up to date with what’s happening in Turkey,
it’s region and the world.

You can unsubscribe at any time. By signing up you are agreeing to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Kaynak bağlantısı