Chairman and Chief Editor
Bedour Ibrahim

Marine Le Pen’s National Rally and its allies dominated the first round of voting Sunday

Macron and French Left-Wing Rivals Race to Stop Far-Right Rise

Monday 01/July/2024 - 06:07 PM
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French President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist alliance and the left-wing New Popular Front are weighing whether to pull candidates from the second round of the legislative election on Sunday to keep the ascendant far right out of power.

Marine Le Pen’s National Rally and its allies dominated the first round of voting Sunday، locking up 33.2% of the vote، according to interior ministry figures. The New Popular Front got 28% and Macron’s coalition got 20.8%. 

Le Pen’s margin of victory was smaller than some polls and indicated. That، together with the news that mainstream parties were exploring ways to lock her group out of power، drove an initial market rally before investor optimism about the outcome began to fade.

 Absolute victory

Winning an absolute majority of seats in the second round would hand the premiership to National Rally President Jordan Bardella and assure the party’s ability to easily pass legislation. Traditionally، France’s mainstream has banded together to keep the far right — which has never held power in the modern French republic — out of government.

“I believe the National Rally can win the election Sunday with an absolute majority،” Bardella told BFM Television on Monday. “I plan on putting together a government of national unity، based on this absolute majority، to carry out the recovery project that I presented to the country.”

In wake of the results، France’s CAC 40 index jumped in early trading before then paring gains. French bonds outperformed German peers، putting the yield spread between the two on track to close at the tightest level in two weeks. The euro gained as much as 0.6%، the biggest intraday jump since mid-June.

The far right is at the gate of power

Markets have been in turmoil since Macron called the snap election on June 9. The extra yield investors demand to hold 10-year French bonds over safer German debt rocketed to more than 80 basis points، levels last seen during the euro area’s sovereign debt crisis. The euro fell to its lowest since early May.

The French political world is now embarking on an intense two-day period of horse trading as each party tries to maximize its chances in the final ballot next weekend.

“The lesson of today is that the far right is at the gates of power،” French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal told supporters Sunday night. “Our objective is clear: to prevent the National Rally from having an absolute majority.”