Home News Four highlights of France’s early election

Four highlights of France’s early election

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France will begin a new week of intense election campaigning on Monday, a day after the far-right National Rally party Leading the first round The legislative elections attracted an unusually large turnout and dealt a heavy blow to President Emmanuel Macron.

Voters are being asked to choose their representatives in the 577-seat National Assembly, the lower and more important chamber of the country’s parliament. They will return to the polls on July 7 for a second round of voting.

If a new majority of lawmakers emerges against Macron, he would be forced to appoint a political rival as prime minister, which would dramatically change France’s domestic policy and disrupt its foreign policy. This would be especially true if he was forced to govern with Jordan Bardella, the 28-year-old head of the National Rally.

Without a clear majority, the country could face months of political deadlock or instability. Macron has ruled out resigning. New legislative elections cannot be called Another year later.

The nationalist, anti-immigrant National Rally For the first time in its history, the party is leading in national legislative elections, winning about 34% of the vote. The broad coalition of left-wing parties, the New Popular Front, won about 29% of the vote; Macron’s centrist Ennahda party and its allies won about 22% of the vote; and the mainstream conservatives won only about 10% of the vote.

Here are four takeaways from the first round that will help make sense of the election so far.

France’s legislative elections are usually held a few weeks after the presidential election and usually favor the party that wins the presidency. This makes them less appealing to voters, many of whom feel the outcome is predetermined.

But this vote – a snap election Mr Macron unexpectedly called — is different. Turnout on Sunday was over 65%, significantly higher than the 47.5% in the first round of the last parliamentary election in 2022.

The jump in support reflects voters’ deep interest in the high-stakes race and their belief that their votes could fundamentally change the course of Macron’s presidency.

To win an outright majority, a party needs 289 seats, and cautious forecasts released by France’s main polling agencies show the National Rally could win between 240 and 310 seats in the next round of voting.

They said the new Popular Front coalition could win between 150 and 200 seats, while Macron’s Ennahda party and its allies could win between 70 and 120.

But using first-round results to predict second-round results has always been tricky because of the nature of France’s electoral system, which essentially consists of 577 separate contests.

Under certain conditions, a candidate who receives more than 50 percent of the vote in the first round of elections wins directly. On Sunday, pollsters predicted that at least 60 candidates would be directly elected in this way.

But most seats are decided in a runoff between the two candidates with the most votes in the second round.

Polls show the National Rally and its allies will reach at least 390 runoffs, the New Popular Front will reach at least 370, and Macron’s centrist coalition will reach at least 290.

A lot can happen between rounds.

Further complicating matters is the possibility that some districts could have three or even four candidates in a runoff if they can muster enough votes. Normally, that’s a rare occurrence, but it was unusual on Sunday because of the huge turnout.

In 2022, there were only eight three-way races. This time, pollsters predict more than 200.

Many parties, especially on the left, said they would run a third candidate to prevent the far-right from winning. But there was still some confusion on Sunday night.

Some of Macron’s allies have suggested, for example, that his party or its allies should not withdraw their candidates because that would help the candidate of the far-left France Indomitable party. Others say the far right must be stopped at all costs.

Two outcomes are most likely.

It looks like only the National Rally will win enough seats to secure an outright majority. If that happens, Macron will have no choice but to appoint Bardella as prime minister. He will then form a cabinet and take control of domestic policy.

In such cases, the president traditionally retains control over foreign policy and defense matters, but the Constitution does not always provide clear guidelines.

That would leave an anti-immigrant, Eurosceptic far-right party in power in a country that has been at the heart of the European project. Mr Bardella is likely to clash with Mr Macron over issues such as France’s contribution to the EU budget or support for Ukraine. War with Russia.

Thousands of mainly left-wing demonstrators gathered in central Paris on Sunday evening to protest against the National Rally.

If the National Rally fails to secure an outright majority — Bardella has said he would not govern without one — Macron could face an unmanageable lower house with both the left and the right against him. His much-reduced centrist coalition, caught between the two extremes, would be relatively powerless.

The government has suspended plans to tighten rules on unemployment benefits, a move that angered unions, and Macron’s prime minister, Gabriel Attal, all but admitted in a speech that his party would soon lose influence.

“The key to a second round is that the far right loses its absolute majority,” he said. He said the party’s goal was to have “enough influence” to work with other parties.

It remains unclear who Macron would appoint as prime minister if a hung parliament occurs.

The president could try to form a coalition government, but France is not used to doing that, unlike GermanyIt is also not used to having a caretaker government running the country’s day-to-day affairs until there is a political breakthrough, as Happened in Belgium.

The victory of the national rally once again shows The Party’s History Over the Years The journey from the margins of French politics to the gilded halls of the French Republic is virtually complete. The party has almost doubled its share of the vote compared to 2022, when it received 18.68% of the vote in the first round of parliamentary elections.

one study Figures released on Sunday showed just how much the party’s voter base has grown.

Ipsos polling agency surveyed a representative sample of 10,000 registered voters ahead of the election and found that the Perikatan Nasional voter base “has grown and diversified”.

The pollster said the party still performed best among the working class. An analysisnoting that the plan received 57% of the blue-collar vote.

But Ipsos said the party’s voter base had “greatly expanded” beyond those categories, noting that it had gained 15 to 20 percentage points among retirees, women, people under 35, high-income voters and residents of large cities.

“Finally, the National Assembly vote has spread,” the pollster said, “forming a more homogeneous group of voters than before and very much in line with the French population as a whole.”

Ségolène Le Stradick Reporting from Eynan-Beaumont, France, also contributed.

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