France, Right Turn: First Round Goes to Le Pen

As it was widely announced, the National Rally (Rassemblement Nationale) got the most votes, runoff to take place on July 7

Marine Le Pen’s National Rally party won the first round of the French legislative elections on June 30, 2024. However, it is not yet certain that the party’s young leader, Jordan Bardella, will actually be able to win enough votes to govern. Turnout hit a new record, with 65% of eligible voters going to the polls, compared to 47.51% who voted in the previous general election in 2022.

The National Rally, allied with Republican President Eric Ciotti, received 33.15 percent of the vote (over 29% for the National Rally alone), with the New Popular Front (NFP), a leftist electoral alliance, coming in second, uniting the Socialist, Communist, Green, and Unconquered France parties of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, receiving 27.99%, while Emmanuel Macron’s Together for the Republic received only 20.83%, and fourth place went to the Republicans with 6.57%.

Whether Bardella becomes the new prime minister will depend on the exact number of seats in the National Assembly, which will be decided after the July 7 runoff. Everything points to an agreement of resistance, as announced by Macron and Mélenchon: the votes will converge for the best-placed candidate against Rassemblement Nationale. Nevertheless, the sovereigntist right has also prevailed in France, just as opinion polls and recent European elections predicted, sweeping away the French moderate tradition.

Bardella stated that “the verdict is not subject to appeal,” indicating a clear desire for change on the part of the French. “The shift is just a stone’s throw away; this is unprecedented hope for the entire country. If you give me your trust, I will become the prime minister of all,” said the young National Rally leader, who called the July 7 vote one of the most important in the history of the Fifth Republic.

Emmanuel Macron, who was the first to speak after the polls closed, explained: “Before the National Rally, it’s time for a broad, explicitly Democratic and Republican alliance for a runoff.”