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French left and centrists scramble to unite against far right for election runoff

🌈 Abstract

The article discusses the aftermath of the first round of snap parliamentary elections in France, where Marine Le Pen's far-right National Rally (RN) party finished first, followed by the left-wing New Popular Front alliance (NFP) and President Emmanuel Macron's centrist bloc. The article focuses on the scramble by left and centrist parties to form a united front to stop the RN's rise to power, and the potential political deal-making and tactical voting strategies being considered.

🙋 Q&A

[01] Aftermath of the First Round of Elections

1. What were the results of the first round of snap parliamentary elections in France?

  • The far-right National Rally (RN) party and its allies finished first with 33% of the vote.
  • The left-wing New Popular Front alliance (NFP) came second with 28% of the vote.
  • President Emmanuel Macron's centrist bloc came third with 22% of the vote.

2. What is the current status of the parliamentary seats and the formation of the government?

  • Most of the 577 seats in the national assembly will be decided in a second-round runoff on Sunday.
  • The RN is on track to become the dominant party in parliament, but the exact number of seats is uncertain.
  • Whether the RN can secure an absolute majority of 289 seats needed to form a government will depend on the political deal-making by its rivals in the coming days.

3. What are the key concerns and strategies of the left and centrist parties?

  • The left and centrist parties are scrambling to cobble together a united front to stop the RN's rise to power.
  • They are engaged in frantic bargaining and tactical voting plans, with some indicating they would withdraw their own candidates in districts where another candidate is better placed to beat the RN.
  • However, the "republican front" strategy of tactical voting is less certain than ever, with disagreements between the parties on how to approach the situation.

[02] Reactions and Positions of Key Figures

1. What is the stance of the centrist Prime Minister, Gabriel Attal, and President Macron?

  • Prime Minister Attal warned that the far-right is at the "gates of power" and said the RN should not get a "single vote" in the second round.
  • President Macron called on voters to rally behind candidates who are "clearly republican and democratic", which would exclude candidates from the RN and the France Unbowed (LFI) party.

2. How have the leaders of the left-wing NFP alliance and the RN responded?

  • The left said Macron's position and that of his centrists had to be made more clear.
  • RN president Jordan Bardella attacked the LFI and said his party would focus on issues like spending power and cost of living in the second round.
  • Bardella said the RN would bring "order to the streets" and address concerns over security, health, education, and immigration if they win an absolute majority.

3. What is the stance of other political figures on the potential RN victory?

  • Some, like Raphaël Glucksmann, called for a committed, unequivocal, and non-partisan response to the "catastrophe" of an RN government.
  • The conservative Republicans party has yet to take a stance, as it split ahead of the vote with a small number of its lawmakers joining forces with the RN.
  • Nationalist and far-right groups across Europe, including Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and Spain's Vox party, welcomed the RN's gains.
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