Here Are the Key Players in France’s Election


France has been governed for the past seven years by President Emmanuel Macron and his centrist government. The vote on Sunday has turned into a race between the two main opponents of Mr. Macron’s Renaissance party: the far-right National Rally, which has surged in popularity, and a newly formed coalition of the country’s left-wing parties.

Mr. Macron called the snap legislative election last month after the National Rally trounced his party in European Parliament elections. The surprising decision sent the country into a three-week campaigning frenzy before the first round of voting last Sunday. That vote only settled 76 of the 577 seats in the National Assembly. The rest will be determined in the runoff on Sunday.

Here’s a look at the key players in the runoff election.

This is Mr. Macron’s party, which up until the election held the most seats in the National Assembly together with its allies — though for the past two years, it has not had an absolute majority. Its election campaign has been led by the prime minister, Gabriel Attal, who has essentially run on the government’s record — lowering taxes and unemployment, tightening immigration rules and maintaining strong support for the European Union and Ukrainian defense. Renaissance and its allies came in a distant third in the first round, and are projected to lose many seats in Sunday’s election.

The country’s far-right, nationalist party has been led for the past two years by Jordan Bardella, 28. But its true leader is Marine Le Pen, the daughter of the party’s founder. The National Rally believes that many of country’s problems, from overspending to crime, stem from immigration. If his party wins an absolute majority, Mr. Bardella has promised to cut immigration, give the police more funding and power to fight crime, and begin to put in effect its long-held ideology of “national preference” — reserving jobs, social benefits, schooling and health care for French citizens, not immigrants. The party has also focused on voters’ thinning wallets and promised to lower taxes on energy of all kinds.

The National Rally and its allies, a splinter group from the more mainstream conservative party, won about 33 percent of the popular vote in the election’s first round last week, and polls show they are poised to win the most seats in the vote on Sunday, though perhaps not a majority.

This coalition of four left-wing parties came together quickly after the election was called to present a united front. Members of the same parties were in a similar coalition that formed in 2022 and unraveled last year — the communists, socialists and greens, along with members of the far-left party France Unbowed. The group has no official leader, and has sidelined the divisive founder of France Unbowed, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who has been widely accused of antisemitism.

Among the coalition’s promises are raising the minimum wage, lowering the legal retirement age to 60 and making the asylum process smoother and more generous. The New Popular Front got 28 percent of the vote last week, and it has since sharpened its focus on blocking the National Rally from getting elected with a majority. To do this, it withdrew more than 130 candidates who were in three-way runoffs, and instructed its supporters to vote for the remaining candidate who was not with the far right.



Source link

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top