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French parties race to block far-right ahead of second-round of voting

People gather at Republique plaza to protest the far-right National Rally pm Sunday, June 30, 2024 (AP Photo/Louise Delmotte)
People gather at Republique plaza to protest the far-right National Rally pm Sunday, June 30, 2024 (AP Photo/Louise Delmotte) Copyright Louise Delmotte/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.
Copyright Louise Delmotte/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.
By David O'Sullivan with AP & EBU
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French parties race against a deadline to block the far-right as the future of their country’s democracy hangs in the balance.

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French parties raced against a deadline to block the far-right as the future of their country’s democracy hangs in the balance. 

Candidates to the French National Assembly are facing a 6pm deadline on Tuesday to register for the second round of high stakes snap legislative elections on Sunday or withdraw.  

French President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist party and a hastily united left-wing coalition are manoeuvring to prevent the far-right National Rally from taking power in the country’s parliament following their success in first round voting. 

Round one of voting propelled 28-year-old Jordan Bardella’s National Rally party closer than ever before to being the sitting government. However, the results also left open the possibility that voters might yet block its path to power on Sunday’s second round of voting.  

If elected to the National Assembly, the National Rally would be France’s first far-right government since World War II. 

More than 150 left-wing or Macronist candidates qualified for the second round of voting have already withdrawn in order to block the far right from winning a majority, according to a provisional count from AFP. 

Marine Le Pen, former French presidential candidate and leading member of the National Rally, has urged voters to give her party an absolute majority in the next round of voting. 

Cécile Alduy, a far-right researcher and professor at Stanford University, said while Bardella’s lack of experience and even competence should be a deterrent for voters, it might work in his favour. 

“There seems to be such a huge detestation of Emmanuel Macron and his politics right now that voters think there is a chance to change that, to really shake the system and people who are disaffected by current politics as they were done think, ‘well we’ve not tried this,” Alduy said.  

At just 28 years old, Jordan Bardella helped make the far-right National Rally the strongest political force in France – and could now be poised to become the country’s youngest prime minister. 

Far-right National Rally party president Jordan Bardella arrives to vote in Garches, outside Paris, Sunday, June 30, 2024.
Far-right National Rally party president Jordan Bardella arrives to vote in Garches, outside Paris, Sunday, June 30, 2024.AP

Voters propelled the National Rally to a strong lead in France’s first round of snap legislative elections on Sunday. Bardella has since turned to rallying supporters to secure an absolute majority in the decisive, second round on July 7. 

If successful, the anti-immigration, nationalist party will run the government with Bardella at its helm. 

President Macron has called the snap election following the French far-right's success in the European elections in June. 

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