Alliance Blocks Populist Le Pen Despite Most Votes In French Election

The recent French elections revealed that Marine Le Pen’s National Rally (RN) won the most votes but secured only the third most seats in the National Assembly due to a strategic alliance between President Emmanuel Macron and the far-left New Popular Front. This alliance effectively prevented the populist party from translating their vote share into a proportional number of seats.

According to the French Interior Ministry, the RN received over 8.7 million votes (32.05%) in the second round of the snap legislative elections. When combined with their allies from Eric Ciotti’s Les Républicains, who garnered nearly 1.4 million votes (5%), the right-wing bloc achieved 37.05% of the total vote.

In comparison, the far-left New Popular Front, led by Jean-Luc Mélenchon and composed of communists, socialists, and environmentalists, received around seven million votes (25.7%). Macron’s centrist coalition earned 6.3 million votes (23.15%).

Despite the RN’s leading vote share, the New Popular Front was projected to win the most seats (182), followed by Macron’s coalition (168), with the RN receiving 143 seats. This outcome resulted from a pre-election agreement between Macron and the New Popular Front, where they agreed to support the strongest candidate against the RN in over 200 districts.

Macron’s alliance with the far-left came after he warned that voting for either the National Rally or the New Popular Front could lead to “civil war.” This move, intended to block the populist party, led to a significant discrepancy between vote share and seat allocation.

Jordan Bardella, the National Rally leader, criticized the “alliance of dishonour” between Macron and the far-left, arguing it would push France towards far-left policies. Marine Le Pen, however, highlighted the progress made: “Two years ago we had just seven MPs. Tonight RN is the first party in France in terms of MP numbers.”

While the RN was denied a majority, this outcome may position them better for the 2027 presidential election. With economic challenges looming, being out of power could shield the RN from being blamed for potential crises. Furthermore, Macron, who has been instrumental in rallying centrist support, will be ineligible to run again due to term limits, possibly easing the RN’s path to the presidency.

The election results underscore the impact of strategic alliances in French politics and the ongoing struggle between populist and traditional political forces. As the National Rally continues to grow, their influence on future elections and French political dynamics will be closely watched.

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