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Towards the end of negotiations to remove the far right from power in France

Photo: Dimitar Dilkoff Agence France-Presse Marine Le Pen was smiling as she left the offices of the National Rally on Tuesday in Paris.

Lucie Peytermann – Agence France-Presse in Paris

Posted at 8:34 a.m.

  • Europe

Political negotiations are in their home stretch in France, which will see on Tuesday evening the posters for the second round of the early legislative elections on Sunday, after a wave of withdrawals from center-right and left candidates to prevent the arrival of the extreme right in power.

The rise of the far right, which could lead a government for the first time since the Second World War, is being scrutinized abroad and is causing the concern of France's major European partners.

The far-right National Rally (RN) party and its allies won 33.1% of the vote in the first round of legislative elections (29.25% for the RN and 3.90% for its allies) and include 39 deputies elected in the first round, including the leading figure of the RN Marine Le Pen.

The left-wing alliance New Popular Front (NFP) obtained 27.99% of the votes and already has 32 elected officials, while the presidential camp sank (20.8%).

After more than 165 withdrawals already announced, the casting of the second round of the legislative elections will be known on Tuesday at 4 p.m. GMT (10 a.m. EDT), three weeks after the disastrous dissolution of the National Assembly by French President Emmanuel Macron, following its failure in the European elections at the beginning of June.

This starting line should confirm the constitution of a “republican front” against the RN and its allies.

“Desist”

“Against the RN: desist, prove that you exist”, headlined Tuesday the left-wing newspaper Libération in a nod to the popular French song Résiste performed by France Gall, ex-Eurovision winner.

Moral authority on the left, the former general secretary of the reformist CFDT union Laurent Berger warned in an interview with AFP on Monday against any “hitch in the Republican withdrawal”.

Among these withdrawals, which concern constituencies where at least three candidates are qualified and where the RN is in a position to win, are a majority of representatives of the left alliance as well as three ministers.

The objective is to prevent the RN from obtaining the absolute majority of 289 deputies on Sunday evening of the second round. If it were reached, a period of political uncertainty would open with a risk of a blockage in the Assembly.

Marine Le Pen spoke on Tuesday of a relative majority of “270 deputies” supplemented with support, so that the party president, Jordan Bardella, 28, would agree to lead a cohabitation government.

Marine's father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, co-founded in 1972, with two ex-members of the Waffen-SS, the National Front, which became RN in 2018. Mr. Le Pen had at the time chosen the same emblem as that of the Italian neofascist party: a tricolor flame.

Obsessed by immigration and Jews, fierce supporter of French Algeria, Jean-Marie Le Pen was condemned several times for his slip-ups. For a decade now, his daughter has embarked on a strategy of demonizing and normalizing the sulphurous party.

Also read

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  • What to expect between now and the second round of the French legislative elections?
  • Chronicle | A vote that comes from far away
  • Editorial | Macron's disastrous bet

Divisions

“We have seven days to prevent France from a catastrophe”, insisted the MEP on Sunday evening social democrat Raphaël Glucksmann, calling on all candidates who came in third place to withdraw.

But for his radical left ally La France insoumise (LFI), the rule will only prevail where the RN came in first, according to its very divisive leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

In the presidential camp, the line does not is not clear.

During a meeting of his government on Monday, Mr. Macron did not give clear instructions, according to several ministerial sources. But according to one participant, he affirmed that “not a single vote” should “go to the extreme right”.

Several Macronist candidates announced that they would remain Nevertheless. And the outgoing majority drags its feet when it comes to supporting an LFI candidate, a repellent for centrist voters and for some on the left, due to the excesses of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, whose party is accused of anti-Semitism.

The Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire himself sent LFI and RN back to back on Tuesday, likening their programs to “two Frexits (France's exit from the 'European Union, Editor's note) in disguise.”

The situation in France is closely followed abroad.

The head of German diplomacy, Annalena Baerbock, admitted that she could not “remain indifferent” to the risk that a party “which sees Europe as the problem and not the solution comes largely in the lead” among its neighbor and ally.

Italian far-right leader Giorgia Meloni, on the other hand, was delighted that “demonization” no longer works.

Prudently, Washington indicated that it had “full confidence […] in France’s democratic processes” and wished to continue “close cooperation” with Paris, while the war rages between Ukraine and Russia.

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