How do they work and why are they so important?

Via Paul Kirby, BBC news

 DANIEL DORKO/Hans Lucas/AFP Jordan Bardella (C), chairman of the National Rally party, looks at a model of an Airbus military drone at the Eurosatory international exhibition for the land and air defense and security industry in Villepinte DANIEL DORKO/Hans Lucas/AFP

Could Jordan Bardella, 28, become the next prime minister of France?

Emmanuel Macron’s decision to call two rounds of elections on June 30 and July 7 is seen by opponents and allies as a reckless gamble that could hand political power to the far right.

He wants to regain control of French politics, but that is not what opinion polls suggest will happen.

Why does France hold elections?

An hour after the far-right National Rally party of Jordan Bardella and Marine Le Pen defeated Emmanuel Macron’s Renew coalition in the European elections, the French president went on television to say he could not act like there was no what happened.

After the National Rally won 31.4% of the vote to his party’s 14.6%, he said it was time for French people and politicians to “not realize they are in an extremist fever” build a new alliance.

Mr Macron did not need to call a National Assembly election as these were last held in June 2022 and there will be no further votes until 2027. He has since insisted this is ” the most responsible solution”.

What is Macron thinking?

Mr Macron has clearly been thinking about calling an election for months, but France is busy preparing for the Paris Olympics from 26 July to 11 August.

It is clear that he wants to break the deadlock after failing to secure an absolute majority in Parliament in June 2022. Passing the law has become a real headache – he has to force passed pension reform without a vote while tougher immigration regulations required National Rally support.

Ludovic MARIN / AFP President Macron on French television June 9Ludovic MARIN/AFP

President Macron addressed the French people and called for elections on June 9

“France needs a clear majority if it wants to act serenely and harmoniously,” Mr. Macron argued. However, he threw French politics into chaos.

His centrist coalition Renaissance, Horizons and MoDem are languishing in third place and his hopes of attracting the center-left have been dashed.

The Socialists formed the New Popular Front with the Green Party, France Unyielding (LFI) and the Communists.

“This decision has created anxiety, confusion and sometimes anger everywhere in our country, among the French people,” Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said.

Why are these elections so significant?

National Rally could win power in France for the first time It is led by 28-year-old Jordan Bardella and in parliament by Marine Le Pen, who has run for president three times and failed each time.

But each time she won more votes. Now, polls suggest her party could become the largest party in France despite falling short of an absolute majority. Not far behind in the polls is a broad left-wing coalition, and they include far-left parties.

How did the French election take place?

There are 577 seats in the National Assembly, including 13 overseas districts and 11 constituencies representing French expatriates. To achieve an absolute majority, a party needs 289.

Macron’s coalition only has 250 seats in the outgoing National Assembly and has had to mobilize support from other parties every time to pass laws.

The first round eliminates all candidates who fail to reach 12.5% ​​of the vote. Whoever achieves 50% of the vote with at least a quarter of local voters voting automatically wins. That happened in some constituencies.

A runoff is a series of second-round contests between two, three, or sometimes four candidates. Some candidates may drop out before July 7 to give allies a better chance of preventing opponents from winning, such as from the far right.

. The French National Assembly is about to retire.

What will happen?

The two-ring system means nothing is obvious.

Even if the National Rally qualifies for a second round in a large number of constituencies, voters could still choose to use “le vote utile” – tactical voting – to keep the party out.

They have 88 seats in the outgoing parliament, but polls suggest they could reach over 200 seats.

Apart from the opinion polls, all we have to go on are the European election results, which gave National Rally 31.37% of the vote and the far-right party Reconquête 5.47%. Some center-right Republican supporters may support the RN, but others may also join the movement to block them – to form a “resistance”.

The total number of votes of the left, the Greens and the extreme left was also over 30%. But not all left-wing voters will support the New Popular Front because of the participation of Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s far-left party France Unbowed (LFI).

Another factor is voter turnout, which will be significantly higher than the 51% in the June 9 European Parliament vote.

What will happen if Macron’s party loses?

No matter who wins, Mr. Macron announced that he will not resign as president.

If his party loses, and the National Rally or New Popular Front wins, it will lead to nearly three years of “coexistence,” or power sharing, when the president of one party heads the house. country and another party runs the government.

This has happened before, with domestic policy in the hands of the prime minister and cabinet, and foreign and defense policy in the hands of the president.

Will Jordan Bardella be Prime Minister?

Unnecessary. Mr. Macron decides who will lead the next government according to the constitution. But he must reflect the composition of the new Congress, so if National Rally is the dominant party, it may be difficult for him to pick someone else.

And if the RN wins an absolute majority, Jordan Bardella will be the obvious choice for the party’s nomination. RN campaign posters proclaim him prime minister, at 28 he is a major presence on TikTok and he has been a member of the European Parliament since 2019.

But Mr. Bardella himself has ruled out the possibility of becoming prime minister if the RN cannot secure that absolute majority: “I don’t want to become the president’s assistant.”

He said that a relative majority would make it impossible for him to act: “I will not sell to the French people measures or actions that I cannot follow.”

Has cohabitation happened in France before?

It took more than 20 years, because congressional elections now follow presidential votes and voting preferences have not changed much in that time.

In the past there were three periods of coexistence:

1997-2002 Socialist Lionel Jospin served as prime minister under center-right President Jacques Chirac

1993-95 Center-right Prime Minister Edouard Balladour worked with Socialist President François Mitterrand during his second term

1986-88 Jacques Chirac was prime minister under President François Mitterrand

But nothing has really prepared France for the kind of coexistence that might come after July 7, when the far right or far left elements are trying to get along with a moderate president.

Jean Bernard Vernier/Sygma French President Jacques Chirac and Prime Minister Lionel Jospin attend the 2001 Franco-German Summit in Nantes, France.Jean Bernard Vernier/Sygma

The last time France had power sharing was when Jacques Chirac was president and Lionel Jospin was Prime Minister

Is National Rally still far-right?

For years, Marine Le Pen has sought to “dediabet” or detoxify her party from the anti-Semitic and extremist roots of her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, and the co-founders of the National Front. his campaign, which she renamed the National Protest.

However, the country’s strict anti-immigrant policies remain and a ruling earlier this year by the Council of State, France’s highest administrative court, confirmed this could be considered “extreme right ”.

French football captain Kylian Mbappé has warned his compatriots that “extremism is at the threshold of power” and that France is “at a very important moment in history for our country”. Jordan Bardella quickly responded, criticizing the millionaire’s “sports figures who give lessons to those who are struggling to make a living”.

The RN has long called for a ban on Muslim headscarves in public, although Mr Bardella now says this will not be a priority until the next presidential election.

National Rally took money from Russia and Marine Le Pen is pro-Kremlin, anti-NATO and anti-EU. However, many of its extreme positions on leaving NATO’s overall command and strengthening ties with Russia were quietly abandoned.

Leaving the EU has not been on the agenda since 2022. Instead, Mr. Bardella focused on cutting VAT (sales tax) on energy and the list of 100 essential goods, while also abolishing VAT on energy and the list of 100 essential goods. abandoned Macron’s pension reform within months.

What does the left promise?

 LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP Member of the French National Assembly "La France Insoumise" Group (LFI) Raquel Garrido (2nd from right) elects First Secretary of the French Socialist Party (PS) Olivier Faure (R) as National Secretary of Ecologists, formerly known as Europe-Ecologie -Les Verts (EELV) Marine Tondelier (2nd L) and French MP for La France Insoumise (LFI) and member of the left-wing coalition NUPES Clémentine Autain (L) welcomed LUDIVIC MARIN/AFP

Left-wing and far-left parties in France formed the New Popular Front

The New Popular Front is an unlikely alliance between the Socialists, the Greens, the Communists and Unyielding France.

They have promised to scrap Macron’s pension and immigration reforms, and their platform is based on the idea that “it’s either the far right or us.”

President Macron has attacked the group as “completely immigrationist” and allowing people to change their gender at their town hall, an accusation that has sparked accusations of transphobia gender.

The Popular Front has promised to fight anti-Semitism, although it includes far-left candidates who have been accused of making anti-Semitic remarks.


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