The emerging French far-right is running for power in the polls.

At stake in Sunday's run-off election is whether the far-right's National Rally will win a majority that would allow it to name a prime minister and decide national policy, or – more likely The result – if the centrists and the left can stop them, France with a hung parliament.

A strategic coalition would prevent the far-right from implementing an anti-immigration, pro-working-class domestic agenda, but would likely lock parliament into political paralysis and damaging inaction.

“Either way, it's a mess,” says Nick Hewlett, professor emeritus of French politics at the University of Warwick in the UK. “Macron's attempts to govern from the center without committing to progressive or reactionary politics have failed miserably, and that's part of what got us here.”

Whatever the outcome of Sunday's runoff, it is not expected to be good news for Macron.  The French media recently made a statement. "End of power" The atmosphere of the Elysée Presidential Palace.
French President Emmanuel Macron's gamble to call an election last month backfired spectacularly.Yara Nardi / AP File

To prevent a humiliating scenario where his decision would usher in France's first far-right government since the Nazi takeover in World War II, Macron broke his traditional allegiance with the center-right Republicans. is given To make deals with the left until the run-off.

To avoid splitting the anti-RN vote, more than 200 candidates have now confirmed they will not stand in the second round, according to local media estimates.

“The left came right out and said they were doing it, and the center came out right away,” said Rainbow Murray, an expert on French politics at Queen Mary University of London in the UK.

“They're both coming from the same perspective, which is not to help each other, but to stop the far right,” Murray said.

This has added tension to the election campaign. More than 50 candidates and activists were physically attacked, including government spokeswoman Priscilla Thenot, whose parents are immigrants from the African island of Mauritius, when she put up an election poster in a town near Paris on Wednesday night. had been

Demonstrations have also gripped the country as demonstrators called on voters to turn out against the RN, with a march in the French capital on Wednesday. The French interior minister said on Thursday that 30,000 police officers would be deployed on voting day, including 5,000 in the Paris region.

But even in the midst of such tensions, this alliance seems to work.

After the first ballot, voters put the RN on track for anywhere between 250 and 300 seats, with 289 needed for a majority. But in the first poll published since this week's strategy withdrawal, Reuters cited forecasts that the RN and its allies could win only 190 to 220 seats.

The same poll showed that the left-wing New Popular Front and Macron's centrists could win enough seats to form a coalition, but Macron has rejected the option of a coalition with the far-left France Envoy party. will be included, while their Prime Minister Gabriel Atal has said. He also rejected the idea of ​​a cross-party government.

In that case, the two most likely scenarios on Sunday present unprecedented challenges for France.

A hung parliament creates the possibility of political paralysis and inertia, where parties cooperate through ad hoc coalitions on a case-by-case basis to legislate, depriving France of a functioning government and potentially deepening a sense of disillusionment. deepens what is already felt by adults. of the voter.

This would not only affect France's domestic policies, but could also hamper its international presence in the European Union and neutralize its most important leaders on the world stage.

A divided France is voting in a high-stakes parliamentary election that could see Marine Le Pen's anti-immigrant and Eurosceptic party sweep into power for a historic first.  The candidates officially ended their campaigns at midnight on June 28, with political activity banned until the first round of voting.
National Rally leader Marine Le Pen has overseen a dramatic rise in the power of the far right in France. The party is now poised to win the maximum number of seats in Parliament. In 2017, it was held only eight.Francois Lo Presti / AFP – Getty Images File

Alternatively, France finds itself with an anti-immigrant, Eurosceptic government that promises to “put France back on its feet” by giving French citizens “national priority” over immigrants for jobs and housing. is, while abolishing the right to automatic French citizenship for children. Barring foreign parents and dual nationals from “sensitive strategic posts”.

RN's opposition to the EU and its historical closeness to Russia during the war in Ukraine It raises questions not only about the future of France, but also about Europe. RN president Jordan Bardella has hit back at accusations that his party is friendly to Russia, calling the nation a “multidimensional threat” to Europe and saying he would support continued French arms supplies to Ukraine. There are, but they oppose sending long-range missiles. Targets inside Russia

Regardless of the outcome, Hewlett says, the RN is likely to claim victory as the single largest coherent party, which will embolden the far right, which “feels entitled to govern sooner or later.” Will do.”

An Ipsos poll surveying more than 10,000 voters showed that the RN enjoys considerable support among voters of all ages, with growing support among French youth. A majority of those identifying as “disadvantaged” also overwhelmingly supported the RN.

His popularity is a devastating rebuke to Macron's politics, which once mobilized the youth and promised change.

And even if the RN wins a more modest 190 seats, it would represent a stunning surge for a party that won just eight seats in 2017.

“It's a win for them no matter what,” Hewlett said.

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