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Jun 25, 2024, 11:20am EDT
politicsEurope
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Semafor Signals

France’s Macron warns of ‘civil war’ if far-left or far-right win power

Insights from Time, Jacobin, Politico, and The Financial Times

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Bertrand Guay/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
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French President Emmanuel Macron warned on Monday that either a far-left or far-right victory in the country’s upcoming election could spark “civil war,” accusing both Jean-Luc Melenchon’s France Unbowed and Marine Le Pen’s National Rally of stoking sectarian tensions.

Left and right-wing leaders condemned Macron’s remarks, and said they reflected political desperation. His centrist alliance Ensemble is currently trailing in the polls, behind the left-wing National Popular Front and the right-wing National Rally.

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SIGNALS

Semafor Signals: Global insights on today's biggest stories.

Macron’s attempts to head off the far right may have backfired

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Sources:  
Politico , The Guardian

If the National Rally wins the French election, it could prove “destructive” for the post-war liberal world order, Politico’s John Lichfield argued. The National Rally has largely “cosmetically cleansed” itself of its more extreme ideological roots, but it remains sympathetic to Russia, hostile to NATO, and deeply xenophobic, Lichfield said. Macron may share some blame: Macron had sought to beat the far right at its own game by taking some of its talking points on immigration and multiculturalism, but instead, he has “emboldened voters to take a chance on the real thing,” The Guardian wrote in a recent editorial.

Is there a third option?

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Sources:  
Time , Jacobin , The Financial Times

Macron presents himself as the sole alternative to the far right, but his snap election gamble may have resuscitated the far left, a columnist argued in Time. Macron’s Ensemble party is behind the left-wing New Popular Front in opinion polls, and France’s electoral system means most voters will be choosing between left-wing and far-right candidates, leaving the “Macronists” out entirely. That reality could provide a “glimmer of hope in a Europe traumatized by the unstoppable rise of the far-right,” a columnist wrote in the left-leaning outlet Jacobin. But the NPF and the National Rally have more in common than meets the eye: Both are promising “dangerous fantasy economics” that endanger the country’s EU commitments, the Financial Times noted.

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