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Far-right loses France’s snap elections but sets sight on 2027 presidential vote


The left-wing New Popular Front coalition was the surprise winner of Sunday’s snap legislative elections in France with Macron’s centrist coalition coming in second.

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France’s far-right National Rally (RN) on Sunday failed in its attempt to secure the most seats in the country’s snap legislative elections but its leader and disappointed activists are keen to portray the defeat as a victory that sets them up well for the 2027 presidential election.

« The National Rally today achieved the most important breakthrough in its entire history, » RN leader Jordan Bardella said in a five-minute speech delivered a half hour after the exit poll showing his party was projected to come third behind the left-wing and centrist coalitions was released.

The results of the ballot, triggered after the RN delivered a stinging defeat to President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist coalition in June’s European elections, « are the building blocks of tomorrow’s victory, » he argued.

The party had come top in the first round last week with about 33% of the vote nationwide and was projected to secure as many as 240 seats. It remained in the lead in the intra-round period, despite the so-called « republican front » orchestrated by the centrist and left-wing coalitions to block RN victories in constituencies where three candidates had qualified.

But the exit poll published at 8pm local time saw it placed third with a projected 138 to 145 seats, behind the NFP – composed of the Greens, Socialists, Communists and the hard-left France Unbowed (party) – which is seen obtaining between 177 and 192 seats.

Macron’s Ensemble coalition came in a surprising second and is expected to retain between 152 and 158 seats.

No party or coalition secured the 289 seats needed for an absolute majority and cannot therefore form a government alone.

‘We have good days ahead of us’

« The National Rally still faces its glass ceiling. Its defeat is due to the withdrawal of many candidates in triangular situations, » Adam Hsakou, programme coordinator at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, told Euronews.

« The RN is undoubtedly paying for the outcry caused by the issue of dual nationals, which animated the run-up to the elections. Jordan Bardella was unable to calm things down. It is a lesson for the man who perfectly embodies the normalisation of the party: young, from an immigrant family, he doesn’t bear the Le Pen name, is eloquent, and effective on social networks, » he added.

Bardella also blamed the « republican front » for his party’s defeat, describing it in his speech as « unnatural political alliances, intended to prevent by all means the French from freely choosing a different policy ».

This « alliance of dishonour and dangerous electoral arrangements », Bardella said, means that « in the midst of a purchasing power crisis, while insecurity and disorder have hit the country hard, France finds itself deprived of a resilient government majority and therefore of a clear course to turn France around. »

But both the leader and militants sought to stress that the night still represented a victory as their number of seats had significantly grown from the 89 they possessed before Macron dissolved the National Assembly.

Béatrice Roullaud, who retained her seat in the sixth constituency in Seine-et-Marne, told Euronews that although « in the end we didn’t get the results we’d hoped for, we did get almost double the number of MPs, so that’s not bad either. »

« It wasn’t (to be) this time, but it will be the next time, because that’s what the French are expecting, » she told Euronews. « So of course we have good days ahead of us. »

Quentin Hoarau, who ran for the party in the fifth constituency of the Val d’Oise, also sought to emphasise that “it’s still a historic score, which shows that the National Rally is really taking root everywhere.”

For Romain, a 50-year-old supporter the results imply « there will be several dozen people who will be prepared for office even better. So we’ll be more and more credible by 2027 ».

‘Tonight, it all begins’

Not obtaining the absolute majority and therefore being forced into a « cohabitation » with Macron might, in fact, work in RN’s favour.

« They will not be forced to try to govern for the next three years and will thus avoid any responsibility for what happens in France during the next few years, » Douglas Webber, Emeritus Professor of Political Science at the INSEAD school, told Euronews.

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« As they will not be able to be blamed for what happens in the next few years, they (Marine Le Pen presumably) will have a good chance of winning the next presidential elections, all the more so because this election result will produce a great deal of political uncertainty in France. It is entirely unclear what kind of government will be able to be formed from this election result, » he added.

Although Macron and his Prime Minister, Gabriel Attal, have signalled their willingness to form a rainbow coalition government that would involve multiple parties, they have rejected all prospects of an alliance with LFI, which they deem as extreme as RN.

LFI, however, is believed to have won up to 80 seats, the biggest tally within the NFP coalition. The Socialists and Greens are projected to have obtained up to 64 and 36 seats respectively.

Unlike in other countries in Europe, such as Germany and the Netherlands, France has no history of coalition building and so negotiations and power-sharing could prove difficult for the remaining three years of Macron’s term.

« If the new progressive government fails to deliver, 2027 could well be Marine Le Pen’s year. All the ingredients are in place for her to continue her progress over the next three years and achieve her dream: the presidency of the Republic, » Hsakou said.

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The results do mean that the RN is France’s largest single political party, as its two rival blocs are coalitions that involve multiple parties. RN is also about to send the country’s biggest delegation to the European Parliament following June’s European elections.

« The National Rally will be stepping up its work in the National Assembly, firstly by standing behind Marine Le Pen; in the country, and secondly by continuing to work towards National Unity, bringing all French people together and, of course, the necessary democratic changeover; finally, in the European Parliament, (where) from tomorrow our MEPs will be playing our full part within a large group, » Bardella said.

« Tonight, it all begins. An old world has fallen and nothing can stop a people who have begun to hope again, » he said.



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