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Programs for legislative elections in France: who is proposing what?

Photo: Dimitar Dilkoff Agence France-Presse Jordan Bardella poses before a political debate broadcast on French television channel TF1, June 25, 2024.

Antoine Maignan – Agence France-Presse

Posted at 8:04 p.m.

  • Europe

National Rally (RN, far right), New Popular Front (left) and presidential camp have each revealed their program for the legislative elections. Here is a comparison of their main proposals, before the televised debate on Tuesday between representatives of each camp.

Purchasing power

N.1 concern of the French according to several recent surveys, purchasing power crosses the project of the three main blocks. The RN thus promises to reduce VAT on energy products to 5.5%, compared to the current 20%. And secondly to “suspend” VAT on a hundred essential products, “in the event of high inflation”.

The left presents a flagship economic measure: a minimum wage (SMIC) of 1,600 euros net compared to nearly 1,400 today. The indexation of salaries to inflation and the 10% increase in the index point of civil servants also appear in the program of the New Popular Front.

To finance this costly project for public finances, the left alliance intends to reestablish a solidarity tax on wealth (ISF) reinforced with a “climate component”, “generalize” the taxation of superprofits and create an additional contribution on high salaries .

If the left intends to “refuse the European budgetary stability pact”, which notably imposes a public deficit below 3% of GDP, the Macronist majority is committed to get back on track by 2027 (compared to 5.5% in 2023), without a tax increase.

It will allow companies to increase up to 10,000 euros per year without charge or tax the amount of the purchasing power bonus (“Macron” bonus). It provides for a 15% reduction in electricity bills from next winter as well as an identical reduction in the price of school supplies via “group purchases”.

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Immigration

If the left intends to repeal the immigration law adopted this winter in Parliament, establish a “soil law full” or even create “a status of climate displaced person”, the RN promises a new “emergency” immigration law from 2024.

Its proposals: removal of the right of the soil, tightening of the criteria for family reunification, offense of illegal stay with a fine, and transformation of State Medical Aid for foreigners in an irregular situation into “vital emergency aid”.

Marine Le Pen's party also explained on Monday that it wanted to ban certain “sensitive jobs” for dual nationals, without calling into question “dual nationality” as it was still proposing in 2022.

International

Even though France's foreign policy is traditionally considered a presidential prerogative, both the left and the far right have unveiled several proposals.

The left-wing parties have tried to overcome their deep differences by denouncing Hamas' “terrorist massacres” in their programs, while promising to fight against the “worrying explosion” of “racist, anti-Semitic and Islamophobic acts.”

They advocate immediate recognition of the State of Palestine, unlike Mr. Bardella, who believes that such an initiative would amount to “recognizing terrorism” today.

The latter assured that he did not intend to “call into question France’s international commitments” if he becomes Prime Minister. Marine Le Pen still promised in 2022 to leave NATO’s integrated command.

The RN president also warned on Monday that he would be “extremely vigilant” in the face of “Russian attempts at interference,” while setting “red lines” on sending ground troops to Ukraine or “long-range missiles or military equipment” that could “directly strike Russian cities.”

Announcements that collide with those of Emmanuel Macron, agreeing to allow Ukraine to use Western weapons to “neutralize” Russian military bases.

Pensions and health

RN and New Popular Front both propose, in the event of victory on July 7, to eliminate the reform of unemployment insurance decided by the government, which tightens the eligibility conditions and reduces the duration of compensation.

Another much criticized reform, that of pensions, on which the two opposition blocs want to return. The left proposes to repeal it and aims for a “common objective”: the right to retire at 60.

Jordan Bardella kept his position on the subject unclear, claiming to want to establish a legal starting age of 62 while establishing a “progressive” system favoring long careers, with the possibility of leaving at 60 for those having started working before the age of 20, with 40 years of contributions.

The central bloc promised to index pensions to inflation and to create a public mutual insurance company to one euro per day for retirees, students, self-employed people or job seekers.

On health, the Ensemble coalition wants to continue the movement of delegation of medical acts to other professions (vaccination by pharmacists, adaptation of the prescription of glasses by optometrists, etc.).

The RN promises to exempt income from tax the professional activity of retired doctors who would return to work in combination with retirement employment; while the left wants to reimburse medically assisted procreation (MAP), menstrual protection; and establish menstrual leave.

Education

Emmanuel Macron spoke out in favor of banning the telephone “before the age of 11” and social networks “before the age of 15”, while Jordan Bardella wished for “a big bang of authority” at school, particularly with the ban on mobile phones in establishments and the wearing of uniforms.

The left wants to ensure “complete free” at school, canteen to school transport and supplies.

Television debate

Jordan Bardella, whose far-right party is largely in the lead in the next legislative elections in France, appeared full of confidence Tuesday evening during a tense televised debate with Macronist Prime Minister Gabriel Attal and a representative of the left, Manuel Bompard.

Calm and clearly better prepared than during a previous debate against Gabriel Attal a month ago, during the European campaign, Mr. Bardella clearly projected himself towards victory and the post of Prime Minister which will fall to him if his party wins an absolute majority in the Assembly, following the elections of June 30 and July 7.

“If I am Prime Minister in a few days…” he said when the debate focused on immigration, his party’s favorite theme. “I will be the Prime Minister who will restore authority,” he promised.

Faced with him, Emmanuel Macron's Prime Minister, Gabriel Attal, replayed the role of the serious, credible and knowledgeable candidate, but without succeeding in shaking Mr. Bardella.

The two men clashed violently over the RN's controversial proposal to prohibit access to certain sensitive public positions for French people with dual nationality.

As for Manuel Bompard, candidate of the radical left but representing the New Popular Front alliance with the ecologists and the socialists, he seemed relegated to the role of spectator of a duel between MM. Bardella and Attal.

Cécile Feuillatre, Agence France-Presse

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