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French election: The first round results

Far-right leaders Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella in June 2024
Far-right leaders Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella in June 2024 Copyright Euronews with AP
Copyright Euronews with AP
By Jack SchicklerRobert Hodgson
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For the first time, the far-right National Rally has topped the legislative polls in France, nearly doubling its support, while President Emmanuel Macron has been left reeling.

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National Rally, the far-right party led by Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella, surged to first place in the first round of legislative elections on Sunday, according to results published by the French interior ministry.

The National Rally gained just over 33.1% of votes cast, according to near-final data released by the interior ministry this morning, about three percentage points behind opinion poll predictions last week but still the clear winner.

The result represents a significant success for Le Pen’s party, formerly called the National Front.

For the first time, the party has come top in the first round of voting after nearly doubling its support since France last elected its National Assembly in 2022.

It might not be enough to secure a majority in the 577-seat lower chamber, with pollster Ipsos projecting that Le Pen and her allies from the Republicans party may get 230 to 280 seats.

The snap vote called by President Emmanuel Macron after a disastrous performance in EU elections on 9 June has failed to turn the tide, and his centrist Ensemble party seems set to lose a significant number of seats.

Macron’s Ensemble coalition reached a fraction short of 21% of the vote – down on where he was at the equivalent stage of 2022 legislative elections, but an improvement on the recent European vote, where he gained just 14.6%.

Left-wing parties, meanwhile, performed relatively strongly.

The New Popular Front, an alliance of the Socialist Party, Greens, and Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s France Unbowed formed after elections were called, garnered 28% – a slight improvement on the 25.7% that NUPES, the equivalent coalition, reached in 2022.

The results now suggest Macron could end up with just 70-100 seats, while the New Popular Front would have 125-165 in a left-wing bloc dominated by Mélenchon's party, Ipsos said.

It was a bad night for right-wing firebrand Eric Zemmour, whose Reconquest party has sunk to under 1% – with voters having likely turned to his rival Le Pen in a consolidation of the far-right vote.

The once formidable centre-right Republicans party – which has been torn apart in an internal debate over whether to stand alongside the National Rally – secured just 6.6% after several candidates defected to Le Pen's party, but in combination with other more moderate right-wingers reached 10.4%.

How important are the French legislative elections?

A party with an absolute majority in the National Assembly would have the right to appoint a prime minister and cabinet – though Macron himself has said he won’t resign as President.

In 2022 elections, Le Pen came third with 18.7% of the vote – and will now be battling to gain the magic number of 289 seats that will enable it to establish the first far-right government in France since the second world war Nazi occupation.

If so, there could be a period of uneasy 'cohabitation', to use the French term, between leaders of opposing parties. This last happened from 1997 to 2002, when conservative President Jacques Chirac was paired with Socialist Prime Minister Lionel Jospin. 

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The present count won’t give the final result as the most successful candidates in each constituency will proceed to a second round on 7 July – and the relatively high turnout seen today suggests many of them will.

What happens now, after the first round of elections?

The coming days will see a considerable amount of horsetrading, with candidates potentially forging electoral pacts or even standing down, meaning the final result can look very different.

In 2022, Macron won just over 25% of votes cast in the first round but ended up with 42% of the seats – finishing in first place, though losing his majority. 

In a speech given just after polls closed, Mélenchon promised to pull out of any constituency where he'd come third, a way to avoid splitting the vote and giving extra seats to Le Pen.

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While legislative terms are normally five years, Macron called snap elections on 9 June after receiving a drubbing from voters in European Parliament elections.

Marine Le Pen’s National Rally took over 31% of the vote and will be sending 30 MEPs to Brussels, more than twice as many as Macron’s coalition managed. 

This page will continue to be updated as more results come in.  

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