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Race against time in France to block the far right

Photo: Thibault Camus Associated Press Elected MP Mathilde Panot, of the La France Insoumise party, responded on Monday July 1 to journalists at the National Assembly. The New Popular Front bringing together left-wing groups obtained nearly 27.99% of the votes and already has 32 elected officials at the end of the first round of the legislative elections.

Marc-Antoine Franco Rey

Published at 10:15 a.m. Updated at 6:27 p.m.

  • Europe

After a first round of legislative elections on Sunday which gave the National Rally (RN) a lead, a week of intense political negotiations began on Monday in France in order to constitute a “republican front” to block the road to the far right between now and the second round, July 7.

“We have seven days to save France from a catastrophe,” declared Social Democratic MEP Raphaël Glucksmann, calling on all candidates who came in third place in the first round to withdraw in the second.

Monday, 155 Macronist or left-wing candidates eligible for the second round withdrew in order to give the candidate who came second a chance to beat the party of Jordan Bardella and Marine Le Pen.

Among the withdrawals, we note a majority of representatives of the left alliance of the New Popular Front (NFP), which collected 27.99% of the votes and already has 32 elected officials.

If they had remained in the race, these candidates would have been engaged in triangulars, which occur when three candidates advance to the second round, having obtained the vote of at least least 12.5% ​​of registered voters.

Candidates still in the running have until Tuesday evening to withdraw in favor of a rival from another political spectrum and thus hope to prevent the victory of a representative of the extreme right.

In total, 306 constituencies out of 577 are in a triangular situation and 5 are in a potential quadrangular situation — four candidates eligible for the second round. Of these 306 constituencies, the RN and its allies came out on top in 161.

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Divisions within the front republican

But this “republican front” against the extreme right appears less systematic than it may have been in the past.

President Macron's camp, routed , in third position with only 20.8% of the votes, did not give a clear procedure to follow in the event of triangulars, according to ministerial sources.

If several Macronist candidates who came third have already announced their withdrawal, including three current ministers, some intend to remain, judging either that they have more reserves of votes than the left, or that their withdrawal would favor the RN.

The leader of La France insoumise and key figure of the NFP, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, for his part affirmed that withdrawals would only be valid where the RN “came in first”.

Fears and rejoicings

The RN accumulated more than 10.6 million votes on Sunday, or 33.1% of the vote, and 39 deputies out of the 76 elected in the first round are under the banner of the far right. Among them is its leading figure, Marine Le Pen.

This result aroused the concern of France's major European partners. “No one can remain indifferent […] if among our very close partner and best friend, a party which sees in Europe the problem and not the solution comes largely in the lead,” declared Monday the head of German diplomacy, Annalena Baerbock.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk spoke on Monday of a “great danger” for France and Europe.

The United States, for its part, declared on Monday that it intended to maintain its solid alliance with France, despite this historic score of the far right in the first round of the legislative elections.

Others, like Italian far-right leader Giorgia Meloni, have rejoiced that “demonization” no longer works. Russian President Vladimir Putin, for his part, indicated that he was following the elections in France “very closely”.

If he obtains an absolute majority of 289 deputies on the 577 of the Assembly at the end of the second round on Sunday, the RN will be called upon to form a government, which would mark a return of the far right to power in France for the first time since the Second World War.< /p>

What to watch this week between now and the second round ?

The RN will take advantage, between now and the second round of legislative elections next Sunday, of its lead to try to convince the French to elect it in order to form the government of the Fifth Republic. For the researcher in strategic and diplomatic studies at the Raoul-Dandurand Chair Julien Tourreille, the element to follow will be the way in which the far-right party goes about seeking an absolute majority in the National Assembly. “Their strategy […] will be to normalize as much as possible, to reassure” the electorate who would still hesitate to give power to a divided Republican front, believes Mr. Tourreille. The anti-RN coalition should work to maintain and solidify the union within its ranks if it wishes to block the far right, as the Prime Minister, Gabriel Attal, called for on Sunday. The challenge will therefore be, according to Julien Tourreille, to present itself as “the figure of a credible alternative solution” and to “ensure that there are not too many triangulars”. The presence of three candidates in the second round effectively creates a “scattering of votes” favoring the one who held the lead in the first round, explains Julien Tourreille. The leading candidate then has a strong chance of winning, even if he or she does not exceed 50% of the votes.

With 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