Spread the love

Great suspense in the first round of legislative elections in France

Photo: Ludovic Marin Agence France-Presse A French voter leaves the voting booth on Sunday, during the first round of the legislative elections

Adrien de Calan – Agence France-Presse in Paris

Posted at 8:27 a.m.

  • Europe

A historic vote in France: voters began going to the polls on Sunday for a first round of highly suspenseful legislative elections that could pave the way for the far right to take power in a week.

The participation rate was up significantly at midday on Sunday in mainland France, at 25.90%, compared to 18.43% during the 2022 election at the same time, indicated the Ministry of the Interior.< /p>

“These are not easy elections, the results are very uncertain, the repercussions can be serious for society”, commented to AFP Julien Martin, architect of 38 years old, in Bordeaux (south-west).

“I’m very worried, I don’t understand what’s happening, why we got to this point,” says Amalia , a designer who came to vote before going to bed, after a night of partying.

Also read

  • What are the main parties competing in the French legislative elections proposing ?
  • Montreal, battleground of French legislative elections
  • A historic election for France

The anxiety and excitement were also palpable in Lyon (central-east).

“We are afraid of the future, it is really decisive, there are choices that we wouldn’t want,” noted Christiane, a 73-year-old retiree. Fearing damage, some downtown merchants protected the windows of their stores, which were closed on Sundays.

Several political figures went to the polls early. Jordan Bardella, the president of the far-right National Rally (RN) party, favored by the polls, voted in the Paris region, like Marine Tondelier, the leader of the environmentalists and Édouard Philippe, former prime minister of Emmanuel Macron's government, in the north of the country.

The French can go to the polls until 6 p.m. (12 p.m. in Quebec) or 8 p.m. (2 p.m. in Quebec) in the large cities, time when the first results of this election likely to shake up the political landscape will emerge.

Great suspense in the first round of legislative elections in France

Photo: Julien De Rosa Agence France-Presse The president of the National Rally, Jordan Bardella, voted early on Sunday in the Paris region.

Incarnated by the smooth face of its president Jordan Bardella, 28, the RN is credited in the polls with 34% to 37% voting intentions, with the unprecedented prospect of obtaining a relative or absolute majority on July 7, in evening of the second round.

According to these opinion surveys, to be taken with caution as uncertainty remains high, the RN is ahead of the left alliance of the New Popular Front (NFP), given between 27.5 and 29%, and the presidential camp (center-right), with 20 to 21%.

If Jordan Bardella became prime minister , it would be the first time since the Second World War that a government from the extreme right would lead France.

Otherwise, the risk of a A blocked assembly, without the possibility of an alliance between very polarized camps, is real, a scenario which would plunge France into the unknown.

An ultra-risky bet, President Emmanuel Macron's decision to dissolve the Assembly on June 9, having barely announced the failure of his troops in the European elections, caused a political earthquake.

< p>Despite its internal differences, in the following days the left managed to build a coalition agreement.

But the differences between the radical left group France Insoumise (LFI) and its partners (socialists, ecologists, communists), notably on the contested figure of the former LFI candidate in the presidential election Jean-Luc Mélenchon, quickly resurfaced and parasitized their campaign.

During this time, nothing seemed to slow down the momentum of the RN in the campaign on purchasing power and against immigration: neither the vagueness on the repeal of Mr. Macron's pension reform, nor the excitement aroused by Mr. Bardella's desire to exclude dual nationals from “strategic jobs”, nor the sulphurous remarks of certain RN candidates.

Strong participation

Will the French thwart the pollsters' predictions after a blitzkrieg campaign ?

The country seems gripped by great excitement and strong participation is expected, around 67% of the approximately 49 million registered on the electoral lists, compared to 47.5% in the first round of the 2022 legislative elections.

More than 2.6 million powers of attorney have been established, according to the Interior Ministry, four times more than two years ago over a comparable period.

In New Caledonia, where polling stations are now closed, turnout jumped (32.4% at midday compared to 13.06% in 2022), while tensions remain high in the Pacific archipelago following riots linked to an electoral reform rejected by the separatists.

Turnover turnout also increased at local midday in French Polynesia: 18% compared to 15.8% in 2022.

“The stakes” are “fundamental” in a “vote where everything can change,” explained Malika B, a 21-year-old voter interviewed by AFP on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe.

However, the lessons from the first round could be difficult to draw, in particular because of the large number of triangular races – three candidates qualified for the second round – expected. But also another unknown: the number of withdrawals in the second round, while the practice of the “republican front” to block the extreme right has weakened over the years.

“The greatest clarity”

It is among the “macronists” that the pressure is the strongest, while Emmanuel Macron was elected president having resorted in 2017 and then 2022 to the argument of the dam against the far right.< /p>

He promised Thursday “the greatest clarity” on the attitude to follow, but so far seemed to lean towards “neither RN, nor LFI” criticized even in his own camp .

Monday midday, he will bring together Prime Minister Gabriel Attal and members of the government at the Élysée presidential palace, to establish a strategy in the face of extreme right.

These legislative elections are taking place after two years of relative majority in the Assembly, where the presidential camp had to look for allies text by text or resort to an article of the Constitution allowing budgets and pension reform to be passed without a vote.

The triumph of the RN in the European elections – 31.4% of the votes against 14.6% in the Macron camp – precipitated the events and the choices of the Head of State, to the point of exposing him to “cohabitation” with M . Bardella.

France has experienced three periods in its recent history of cohabitation between a president and a government of differing sides, under the presidencies of François Mitterrand (1986-1988 and 1993-1995) then Jacques Chirac (1997-2002).

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116