Monday Briefing

The National Rally party won a crushing victory in the first round of voting for the French National Assembly, according to early projections, bringing its long-taboo brand of nationalist, anti-immigrant politics to the brink of power. Final results from the Interior Ministry are expected to be released today.

Pollster projections, which are normally reliable, suggested that the far-right party would take about 34 percent of the vote, ahead of a coalition of left-wing parties, which was projected to take about 29 percent of the vote, and President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist Renaissance party and its allies, which was in third place with about 22 percent.

Turnout was high at about 67 percent, compared with 47.5 percent in the first round of the last parliamentary election in 2022. The two-round election will be completed with a runoff this coming Sunday between the leading parties in each constituency. The National Rally now looks very likely to be the largest force in the lower house, if not necessarily with an absolute majority.

What’s next: If a new majority of lawmakers opposed to Macron is ushered in, he will be forced to appoint a political adversary as prime minister. If no clear majority emerges, the country could be headed for months of political turmoil. Here are takeaways from the vote.

Analysis: Both France and the U.S. face nationalist forces that could undo their international commitments and pitch the world into uncharted territory, writes Roger Cohen, our Paris bureau chief.

Iranian voters used the country’s presidential election on Friday to signal their discontent with its system of clerical rule, trudging to the polls in record-low numbers to help two candidates limp to a runoff.

The final choice will be between a reformist former health minister, Dr. Masoud Pezeshkian, and an ultraconservative former nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili. Neither won more than 50 percent of the vote, which means it will take a runoff on Friday to establish who will tackle challenges like Iran’s struggling economy and the risk of a wider conflict in the Middle East.

The campaign was notable for how openly the candidates attacked the status quo, but the turnout reflected pessimism that a new president could effect change: They must govern with the ultimate approval of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Go deeper: Here’s more about the initial candidates, and these are four takeaways from the election.

As they huddled at Camp David this weekend, President Biden’s family urged him to stay in the race despite Democratic anxiety about his disastrous debate performance, insiders said. While Biden’s relatives were acutely aware of how poorly he did against Donald Trump, they argued that he could still show the country that he remains capable of serving another term.

As he considers how to proceed, Biden’s advisers have been discussing whether he should hold a news conference or sit for interviews to defend himself and change the narrative, but nothing has been decided. The campaign scheduled what could be a critical call with its national fund-raising committee today to calm nerves and take temperatures.

Francesca Mari’s dad always remembered the journey he took through Europe when he was 14 — Switzerland and Italy, Lugano and Naples. Now, with Alzheimer’s claiming his memories, the pair tried to recreate it.

Wandering the alleys of Como, he exclaimed that the cobblestones resembled “embedded eggs.” “A perfect description,” Francesca writes. “We were a father and daughter navigating the world on indestructible eggshells.”

Next week, Netflix is introducing Japan’s first same-sex reality dating series, “The Boyfriend,” which follows nine men living in a luxury beach house outside Tokyo. Though public sentiment in Japan has moved toward support for gay and transgender people, the country lags other wealthy democracies in L.G.B.T.Q. rights.

The format of the show evokes Japan’s most popular romantic reality show, “Terrace House”: wholesome, mostly chaste and with as much focus on friendship and self-improvement as on romance.

Dai Ota, the show’s executive producer, said he wanted to “portray same-sex relationships as they really are,” as opposed to the exaggerated, stereotypical gay characters often depicted on Japanese television.

That’s it for today’s briefing. Thank you for starting your week with The Times. — Natasha

P.S. Over the last decades, dogs have gone from an academic afterthought to the new “it” animal for research, Emily Anthes writes in The Morning.

Reach Natasha and the team at

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