Macron Seeks to Thwart French Far-right in Election Second Round

French President Emmanuel Macron and his allies have begun a week of intense campaigning ahead of the second round of legislative elections in an effort to prevent the far-right National Rally (RN) party from taking an absolute majority and control of the government. The RN, led by Marine Le Pen, emerged victorious in the first round of polls, with Macron’s centrists trailing in third place behind a left-wing coalition. The key question now is whether the RN will secure an absolute majority in the new National Assembly, which would enable them to take power. Macron’s Prime Minister Gabriel Attal warned that the far right is now at the “gates of power.”

Projections from French polling firms indicate that the RN is expected to secure 33.2-33.5% of the vote, compared to 28.1-28.5% for the left-wing New Popular Front alliance and 21.0-22.1% for Macron’s centrist camp. These projections suggest that the RN could win a majority of seats in the 577-seat National Assembly after the second round, although it remains uncertain if they will reach the 289 seats needed for an absolute majority. Macron has called for a “broad” alliance against the far right in the second round, hoping that tactical voting will prevent RN candidates from winning seats and leave them short of an absolute majority.

If the RN were to secure an absolute majority, it would mark a significant turning point in French modern history, as it would be the first time a far-right force has taken power in the country since World War II. Le Pen’s protege, Jordan Bardella, has expressed his desire to become the prime minister of France if the RN wins an absolute majority. However, if the RN falls short, it could lead to months of political paralysis and negotiations to form a sustainable government.

The second round of legislative elections will take place on July 7, and the outcome will determine the future political landscape of France. Macron’s decision to call for snap polls after the RN’s victory in the European Parliament elections has sparked uncertainty in the country, with the Paris stock exchange experiencing its biggest monthly decline in two years in June.

As the French face their most polarizing choices in recent history, the voter turnout in the first round reached 65%, significantly higher than the 47.5% turnout in the 2022 polls. Macron emphasized the importance of this vote and the desire to clarify the political situation in France.

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