Left parties biggest in France – National Rally in third place

Published 8 July 2024
- By Editorial Staff
Jean-Luc Mélenchon's left-wing alliance appears to be the big winner of the election.

The second and decisive round of the French parliamentary elections was by all accounts a minor fiasco for Bardella and le Pen’s National Rally, which is likely to win fewer seats than both the left-wing NFP alliance and Macron’s center-right coalition.

In the run-up to the election, both the left and the liberals mobilized, and according to Ipsos polls, around 67% of citizens went to the polls – the highest turnout since 1997.

The national conservative National Rally was predicted to be the favorite, but appears to be in third place with 143 seats – according to preliminary results, far from the 289 seats needed for a majority in parliament.

The left-wing NFP alliance looks set to win 182 seats, and Macron’s centrist coalition is expected to come in second with 168 seats. Votes are still being counted, but it is considered almost impossible for the National Rally to overtake any of its main rivals.

The most likely scenario is that the left will negotiate with the more liberal party to form a government and keep the nationalists out of power.

At the same time, it should be noted that if one looks only at the number of votes cast, the National Rally together with its allies is by far the largest party, winning just over 37% of the vote – but in practice this matters less, as the candidate with the most votes in a constituency wins the constituency’s seats, and the other parties may have joined together in an “unholy alliance” to ensure that the seats do not go to Bardella’s party. By comparison, the left-wing NFP alliance has by far the most seats in parliament – despite winning only about 28% of the popular vote.

“Magnificent mobilization”

Acting Prime Minister Gabriel Attal announces his resignation, and National Rally leader Jordan Bardella expresses his disappointment at the result, saying that France is now facing an “uncertain future”. At the same time, he promises that the party will instead “strengthen its work in opposition”.

Left-wing leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon instead called it a “magnificent mobilization”.

– The president must bow down and admit defeat, and the prime minister must resign, he says.

This year’s elections have been marked by the fact that the campaigns of the other parties have been very explicitly about stopping the National Rally through various political tricks and maneuvers, rather than pushing and promoting their own policies.

“Scary moment”

It is also worth noting that it is not only the National Rally that is disappointed with the election results. Several prominent French Jewish figures have publicly accused at least parts of Mélenchon’s pro-Palestinian left-wing alliance of being deeply “anti-Semitic” and called for opposition.

“The Left has once again fallen prey to the infamous Mélenchon. Surrounding him now are some of the new faces of antisemitism. A chilling moment indeed. Our sole mission: to persist in the struggle against these individuals”, declared the philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy on X, calling Mélenchon’s party “the main enemy of all democrats”.

French-Jewish journalist Yohann Taieb agrees, arguing that “Mélenchon’s victory sends a horrifying message of impunity to all anti-Jewish Islamo-fascists”. Similar messages have been delivered by other Jewish figures in the country.

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