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Updated Jul 3, 2024, 8:31am EDT
politicsEurope
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Semafor Signals

How France’s parties are uniting to combat the far right

Insights from Le Monde, Domani, Euronews, and Politico

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Aurelien Morissard/Reuters
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The News

Over 200 candidates have dropped out of France’s legislative elections in a coordinated push by multiple parties to consolidate support and keep the far right from power.

Left-wing parties and the centrist bloc of President Emmanuel Macron are withdrawing candidates from three- and four-way contests to ensure the remaining challenger to the far right in each constituency has the best chance of winning in the second round of polling on Sunday.

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The unified effort comes as the hard-right National Rally, led by Marine Le Pen, and its allies won a historic 33% of the vote in the first round of polling last weekend.

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Impact of withdrawals yet to be seen

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Sources:  
Le Monde, Domani

From the first round of voting, it’s clear that neither the left nor Macron’s bloc will be able to win an absolute majority, Le Monde noted, and it’s not entirely certain that the withdrawals will make a dent in the dominance of National Rally and its allies. The most decisive votes will be those of the voters who supported candidates in the first round who have now dropped out, Italian newspaper Domani added. But these voters may refrain from voting, rather than head to the polls to cast a vote for a new candidate they don’t support.

France is in ‘uncharted territory’

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Sources:  
Le Monde, The Economist

The outcome of the first round of voting has “introduced elements of instability that have been unheard of since the birth of the Fifth Republic” in 1958, a Le Monde columnist argued. The president is now unable to guarantee the functioning of the political system, and the system is not representing many of the voters, some who feel “scorned or ignored,” she wrote. The election as a whole, The Economist noted, plunged the country into “uncharted territory.” A government led by National Rally, as well as one led by the left-wing alliance New Popular Front, could mean “extremist politics, economic populism and financial instability.”

Bardella’s lack of experience could give him an advantage

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Sources:  
Euronews, Politico

As voters head to the second round of polls, the National Rally’s prime-ministerial candidate Jordan Bardella may benefit from his inexperience, a far-right researcher and professor told Euronews. “There seems to be such a huge detestation of Emmanuel Macron and his politics right now that voters think there is a chance to change that, to really shake the system,” she said, by trying something new. Bardella has successfully attracted many young voters thanks to his social-media savviness, and National Rally has also benefited from a far-right renaissance across Europe and beyond, Politico wrote.

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