Written by 09:10 World

France Reacts to Big Far-Right Wins in First Round of Snap Election

For many, France feels like a very different place on Monday.

The results from the first round of legislative elections, held on Sunday, revealed a country deeply fractured, with a surging far right winning a record number of votes and the near collapse of President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist party.

“The far right at power’s door,” the cover of Le Parisien, a daily newspaper, pronounced the morning after the first half of the snap election called by Mr. Macron.

“Twelve million of our fellow citizens have voted for a far right party that is clearly racist and anti-Republican,” the left-leaning Libération newspaper declared in an editorial, referring to Marine Le Pen’s National Rally party. “The head of the state threw France under the bus, the bus continued without slowing down, and now it’s parked in front of the gates of Matignon” — the prime minister’s office.

If the National Rally takes an absolute majority in the runoff on Sunday, Mr. Macron will be forced to appoint a prime minister from its ranks, who will in turn form a cabinet.

There was a sense of whiplash and disbelief at the political nosedive of Mr. Macron’s party, which with its allies has had the most seats, but not an absolute majority, in the National Assembly. That centrist coalition finished a distant third in the first round of the two-round electoral race.

Only two of his candidates — and not one of his ministers who were running for a seat — got enough votes to be re-elected without a runoff for their positions, compared with 37 members of the far-right National Rally, and 32 of the left-wing coalition of parties called the New Popular Front, which came in second.

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Last modified: 2 July 2024
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