Macron-Left Alliance Thwarts Le Pen’s National Rally Despite Winning Most Votes

In the recent French legislative elections, Marine Le Pen’s National Rally (RN) won the most votes but was awarded the third most seats due to a strategic alliance between President Emmanuel Macron and the far-left New Popular Front. This alliance effectively prevented the populist party from gaining a majority despite their electoral success.

According to the French Interior Ministry, the RN secured over 8.7 million votes (32.05%) in the second round of the snap legislative elections. Together with their allies from Eric Ciotti’s Les Républicains, who earned nearly 1.4 million votes (5%), the right-wing bloc accumulated 37.05% of the total vote.

In contrast, the far-left New Popular Front, led by Jean-Luc Mélenchon and including communists, socialists, and environmentalists, garnered approximately seven million votes (25.7%). President Macron’s centrist coalition received 6.3 million votes (23.15%).

Despite the RN’s lead in vote share, the New Popular Front was projected to win the most seats (182), followed by Macron’s coalition (168), and the RN with 143 seats. This outcome was a result of a behind-the-scenes agreement between Macron and the New Popular Front, where both sides agreed to support the candidate with the best chance of defeating the RN in over 200 districts.

Just days before forming this pact, Macron had warned that voting for either the National Rally or the New Popular Front could lead to “civil war,” raising questions about his alliance with the far-left bloc. The strategic move significantly impacted the distribution of seats, despite the RN’s electoral success.

Jordan Bardella of the National Rally criticized the “alliance of dishonour,” claiming it would push France towards far-left governance. Marine Le Pen, however, noted a positive development: “Two years ago we had just seven MPs. Tonight RN is the first party in France in terms of MP numbers.”

Although the RN was blocked from gaining a majority, this result might favor them in the 2027 presidential election. With an impending debt crisis, being out of power could protect the RN from taking the blame for economic troubles. Additionally, Macron, who has effectively united centrists, will be ineligible for re-election due to term limits, potentially smoothing the RN’s path to victory.

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