France's Left Pulls Off Shocking Comeback Finishing First in Parliamentary Elections

AP Photo/Luca Bruno

A coalition of left-wing parties pulled off a stunning upset in the final round of France's parliamentary elections, relegating the right-wing National Rally to third place and seemingly guaranteeing paralysis in the French government. In the first round of voting last Sunday, Marine Le Pen's National Rally (RN) won 34 percent. The leftist New Popular Front (NFP) — a coalition of five parties that range from lunatic leftists and environmentalists to run-of-the-mill socialists — took 28 percent of the vote. French President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist Ensemble alliance was essentially repudiated by the voters gathering only 20 percent.


The election wasn't due for another two years, but Macron, for some reason, thought he could gain a political advantage by calling a snap election (see France's Macron Dissolves National Assembly, Calls for Snap Elections After Crushing EU Election Defeat – RedState).

French elections run in two phases. The first phase eliminates tiny fringe parties by requiring the votes of 12.5 percent of locally registered voters to move to Round Two. However, if a candidate gets over 50 percent of the vote and there is a 25 percent turnout, that candidate wins outright. This was the round of voting that Le Pen's party won.


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The second round is a runoff in which the top vote-getter wins.

Le Pen's showing in the first round resulted in Macron's party and the leftists entering into an agreement requiring the weaker candidates of either party to withdraw so they would not split the non-RN vote.

There are 577 seats in the National Assembly, including 13 overseas districts and 11 constituencies representing French citizens abroad. For an absolute majority, a party needs 289. The leftist coalition is projected to win between 171 and 187 seats, making it the largest party but without a majority. Macron's party moved to second place and will take between 152 and 163 seats. RN will hold from 134 to 152 seats.


The outcome will not be pretty.

As it stands, none of the three major blocs appears able to work with the others. Each could try to cobble together a working majority with the smattering of smaller parties or independent lawmakers that will take up the rest of the lower house’s seats. But their ability to do so is uncertain.

“French political culture is not conducive to compromise,” said Samy Benzina, a public law professor at the University of Poitiers, noting that France’s institutions are normally designed to produce “clear majorities that can govern on their own.”

A scenario in which no party successfully secures an absolute majority — at least 289 of the lower house’s 577 seats — is not unprecedented in France. That is exactly what happened during the last legislative elections, in 2022. Mr. Macron still managed to put together functioning governments that have successfully passed bills over the past two years.

But that was only because Mr. Macron’s centrist coalition was large enough — with about 250 seats — and the parties opposed to him were too divided to pose a consistent threat. When it wasn’t, Mr. Macron’s government came dangerously close to falling.

Macron will appoint a prime minister from the leftist group. In a move reminiscent of the minority communists in revolutionary Russia styling themselves bolsheviks, or "majority party," the NFP, which will hold a bare plurality in the National Assembly, is claiming a "mandate to govern."


While definitely a heartbreaking disappointment for Le Pen and NR, it can't be called a defeat. In the 2007 elections, RN took 4.3 percent of the vote. In 2022, it won 18.7 percent. This year, it looks like it won 33.2 percent. As the dystopic effects of untrammeled Third World immigration, stagnating economies, and skyrocketing debt combine, it will get stronger (see Europe Begins the Long, Hard March Back From the Abyss After Stunning Right-Wing Election Victories – RedState).



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