Tuesday, July 16, 2024

France is witnessing a high turnout in the early parliamentary elections, as the far right seeks to achieve gains


Yara Nardi/AFP/Getty Images

French President Emmanuel Macron cast his vote in the first round of parliamentary elections, at a polling station in the city of Le Touquet in northern France.


France witnessed the highest participation rate in recent memory, such as voting in the first round of early elections Parliamentary elections Close to the end.

The election could topple President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist coalition and leave him to serve out the remaining three years of his term in an awkward partnership with the far right.

As of 5pm local time (11 EST), 59.39% of voters have cast their ballots, representing a 20% increase from the last set of parliamentary elections held in 2022, according to data published by the French Interior Ministry.

Voting began at 8 a.m. local time (2 a.m. ET), as France began the process of electing its 577-member National Assembly through local contests across the country and in its overseas territories.

The election comes three years before it was due to take place, and three weeks after Macron’s Ennahdha party was defeated by Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally party in European Parliament elections.

Minutes after the humiliating defeat, and in an apparent attempt to deceive voters, Macron said that he could not ignore the message sent by voters and made the “serious and heavy” decision to call elections. Early elections – The first in France since 1997.

Whatever the outcome, Macron has pledged to remain in office until the next French presidential election in 2027.

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The National Assembly is responsible for approving domestic laws – from pensions and taxes to immigration and education – while the president sets the country’s foreign, European and defense policy.

Yves Hermann/Reuters

Far-right leader Marine Le Pen cast her vote in the French town of Henin-Beaumont on Sunday.

When the president and the majority in parliament are from the same party, things work out. When they don’t, the government can grind to a halt—a prospect that could haunt Paris as it prepares to host the Summer Olympics next month.

France recently witnessed a government of this type – known as “coexistence” – when right-wing President Jacques Chirac called early elections and had to appoint a socialist, Lionel Jospin, as prime minister, who remained in office for five years.

The first round of voting eliminates the weakest candidates before a second round on Sunday. If a candidate wins an absolute majority of votes in the first round with a turnout of 25%, they win the seat. Typically, only a handful of MPs are elected this way — but most will go to a second round.

Only those who receive more than 12.5% ​​of the votes of registered voters are allowed to run in the second round. This round is usually contested by two candidates, but sometimes by three or four candidates. Some candidates choose to withdraw at this stage to give their allies a better chance of winning.

Most voters will choose one of three blocs: the far-right coalition led by the National Rally; the New Popular Front, a recently formed left-wing coalition; and Macron’s centrist faction.

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The National Rally bloc is headed by Jordan BardellA, the 28-year-old party leader chosen by Le Pen, has strived to burnish the image of a party historically plagued by racism and anti-Semitism that spread under the decades-long leadership of her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen.

Until recently, the possibility of forming a far-right government was unthinkable. In the past, opposition parties would enter into marriages of convenience in an attempt to prevent the National Front – under its former name, the National Front – from entering government. Now, in a few weeks, Bardella may become France’s prime minister – and Europe’s youngest prime minister in more than two centuries.

On the left, a group of previously divided parties recently came together to form the New Popular Front – a coalition meant to revive the original Popular Front that prevented the fascists from coming to power in 1936. The broad coalition includes more extreme figures such as Jean-Luc. Mélenchon, three-time presidential candidate and leader of the France Unbending party, as well as moderate leaders such as Raphaël Glucksmann of Place Publique.

Meanwhile, outgoing French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal – appointed by Macron only in January – represents Macron’s centrist coalition. Attal is said to have been among the last in Macron’s inner circle to learn of the approaching snap elections.

Polls close at 8 p.m. local time (2 p.m. ET) on Sunday, and full results are expected early Monday.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the time polls opened in the election. It is 8 a.m. local time (2 a.m. ET) on Sunday.

Rainerio Manuel
Rainerio Manuel

"Infuriatingly humble alcohol fanatic. Unapologetic beer practitioner. Analyst."