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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

France. National Rally wins elections. First reactions and comments

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There are the first comments after the far right won the parliamentary elections in France. “This is more than a bad result for President Emmanuel Macron and his political brand of reformist centrism. It is the biggest failure of liberal democracy in France since the creation of the Fifth Republic in 1958,” said the Financial Times. The British daily added that the poor result of the presidential party may be due to the fact that “for millions of voters, Macron himself is the problem.”

According to Paweł Zerka, an expert from the Parisian think tank ECFR, the French National Rally (RN) Marine Le Penthe former National Front, has a good chance of taking power in France. The expert evaluates this way polls exit poll announced after the first round elections parliamentary meetings on Sunday. According to them, the far right can count on 34 percent support. The Left Popular Front came second with 29 percent. The podium is closed by President Emmanuel Macron's camp. Together for the Republic won between 20.5 and 23 percent of the votes.

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– The results definitely confirm that Marine Le Pen's party has a good chance of taking power in France. Even if they do not win a majority of seats in parliament on their own, they will try to build this majority with the Republicans – said Zerka. This applies to both the part of the right-wing Republicans (LR) led by Eric Ciotti, who have already formed an alliance with RN, and the faction that has not. The expert interprets the fact that she did not issue instructions on how to vote in the second round as a signal that the latter faction could also possibly be interested in an alliance with Le Pen.

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– Marine Le Pen's party won because it has won the most votes so far and will probably get the most seats in the next parliament, but its full victory will of course be the possibility of forming a government. This is the key news of today – something like this is indeed possible and we should prepare for it. The second “news” is that the turnout was historic, the highest in almost four decades – said the expert. The turnout was 69.7 percent. In the previous parliamentary elections in 2022, it was 47.7 percent.

Predictions before the second round

As he explained, the high turnout means that not two, but three candidates will advance to the second round much more often than ever before. – It is estimated that in 285, and perhaps even in 315 districts (out of 577), there will be such a triple race in the second round – said Zerka. And since – as he pointed out – there will be three candidates in the second round, “the key now is whether some candidates will withdraw to give the field to one of their rivals who has a greater chance of defeating the extreme right.”

– So tonight the French are looking at two things. Firstly, partial results from each of the 577 districts, but this is very difficult (…). It is easier to observe what instructions the heads of individual parties give regarding the behavior of voters and the behavior of their candidates in the elections, Zerka said.

– It is very interesting that one of the leaders of the left, representing the far left Jean-Luc Melenchon, has clearly said that his party (France Untamed – ed.) will withdraw candidates in those districts where the candidate of the party Marine Le Pen is in the lead, and the candidate of his party, belonging to the joint left-wing New Popular Front, is only third. This is a very important declaration, showing that for him the key risk is Marine Le Pen and the key task is to stop her – indicated the analyst.

As he stressed, “neither the Republicans gave this kind of instruction to their candidates and their voters”, nor did President Emmanuel Macron's political camp do so.

– What we have heard so far from politicians associated with Macron, from Francois Bayrou or from former Prime Minister Eduard Philippe, is that they will only withdraw where this alternative candidate to Marine Le Pen's party is consistent with their values ​​of attachment to democracy and the Republic. In a veiled way, this can be translated into the fact that they will not withdraw their candidate in a place where, in addition to the candidate of the presidential camp, also a far-left politician and a politician from Marine Le Pen's party made it to the second round, Zerka said.

– In such a situation, if Macron and his entourage equate – because that's how it should be understood – the far left and the far right, then one can imagine that this will pave the way for Marine Le Pen to power, because these left-centrist votes will be split in the second round, allowing the RN candidates to easily win this race in many places – concluded the expert of the Parisian think tank.

Britons on the election results in France

The results of Sunday's first round of parliamentary elections in France are a heavy defeat for President Emmanuel Macron and in light of them it is even more difficult to understand his decision to call them, said the British press.

“If the polls are accurate, this is more than a bad result for President Emmanuel Macron and his political brand of reformist centrism. It is the biggest defeat for liberal democracy in France since the creation of the Fifth Republic in 1958,” the Financial Times said.

The daily noted that everything depends on the results of the second round on July 7, because the far-right National Rally (RN), which was expected to win the first round comfortably, may not win enough seats to form a government. “But the lesson of the first round is that the center in France has not held its own despite Macron's fervent appeals for support. Perhaps that is because for millions of voters, Macron himself is largely the problem,” the FT noted.

The Daily Telegraph also wrote about Macron's defeat. There is no doubt that the result of the first round of early elections is a huge slap in the face for President Emmanuel Macron, whose party is languishing in third place. His decision to call them after being beaten in the European elections now seems like a misguided act of vindictiveness due to wounded pride. Sunday evening was also undoubtedly a great victory for the National Rally, which came in clear first place in terms of votes, obtaining around 33-34 percent – an all-time record for the successor of the National Front to Jean-Marie Le Pen, commented the daily.

Emmanuel Macron voted in the electionsEPA/YARA NARDI

The newspaper added that it is too early to talk about the electoral success of the right, because the New People's Front (NFP) – a mixture of the extreme left, socialists, greens and communists – also achieved a good result, taking second place with almost 30 percent. votes. Moreover, the results of the second round are more difficult to predict than usual, because in over 300 districts not two candidates with the best results will run, but three.

“The Guardian” pointed out that there is no good scenario for Macron, because if in a week the National Rally obtains a majority, he will have to share power with this party, and if he does not obtain it, he will have a parliament incapable of creating any majority that could create government.

Elections in France. Exit poll results TVN24

“The RN's chances of winning power will depend on the political deals its rivals strike in the coming days. In the past, traditional right-wing and left-wing parties have struck deals to withdraw candidates from the election to avoid splitting the vote against the RN. But the tactical voting strategy known as the 'republican front' to block the RN is less certain than ever,” the Guardian said.

“Macron stunned his own government and supporters by deciding to dissolve parliament and call early elections after his centrist, pro-European party was defeated by the RN in the EU elections. He argued that he called the elections to 'clarify' the French landscape political,” the daily added.

Main image source: PAP/EPA/JULIEN MATTIA



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