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France's President Emmanuel Macron looks and gestures after his vote in the second round of France's legislative election.


France faces political deadlock

After the right-wing National Front looked poised to win the most seats in France’s first round of parliamentary elections, left-wing parties and Emmanuel Macron’s centrist allies worked together to fight back. The big question now is whether they can work together to lead France going forward.

The NPF was created as a coalition of left-wing parties to pull as many votes from the far-right as possible. They then teamed up with the centrists to pull over 200 candidates from three-way races where the right had a chance of clinching a seat. The strategy worked, resulting in the New Popular Front – the coalition of left-wing parties – winning 182 seats, Macron’s centrist allies winning 163, and the right-wing National Rally winning 143 after Sunday’s vote.

But now that the NPF and the centrist coalitions have defeated their common enemy, they share little common ground. Many parties in the NPF, for example, are adamantly opposed to Macron’s pension reforms and economic agenda. Meanwhile, since they won the majority of the vote, the NPF is looking to wield more power. Far-left leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon, whose party won about 75 of the NPF’s seats, is proclaiming that Macron has a “duty” to name a prime minister from the left’s coalition. But internal divisions over economic and foreign policy are likely to cripple the bloc.

The upshot: Since none of the three got remotely close to the 289 seats needed for a majority, and they don’t seem prepared to work together, the country is likely hurtling toward political gridlock and instability.
UK's new PM Starmer aims for closer EU ties

UK's new PM Starmer aims for closer EU ties

Carl Bildt, former prime minister of Sweden and co-chair of the European Council on Foreign Relations, shares his perspective on European politics from the Adriatic Sea.

How will the new UK Prime Minister Keir Starmer reset relations at home and abroad?

Well, I think overall there's going to be a lot of continuity in terms of foreign and security policies. They've already sent the defense secretary to Kyiv to say that if anything, it's going to be even stronger support. But in terms of Europe, it’s going to be a new nuance and new attempts. The new foreign secretary, David Lammy, has already been to Germany, he's been to Poland, he’s been to Sweden, and he's talked about a European pact, foreign and security issues, cooperating more closely. And he's been invited to a meeting with all of the foreign ministers. So that's where we are likely to see, some change in the months and perhaps years ahead.

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In global elections, incumbents are in trouble
Global elections: Challenges for incumbents worldwide | Ian Bremmer | Quick Take

In global elections, incumbents are in trouble

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi everybody. Ian Bremmer here and a Quick Take to kick off your week. Lots going on especially big elections. We have the France results. We have the UK results. We have the Iran results. We have a lot of uncertainty of course, here in the United States. My big takeaway is this is a horrible time to be an incumbent.

It's really challenging and what a huge reason for it that people aren't talking about, because it's already way in the rearview mirror is the pandemic. If I'm talking to you right now, your life was really changed by the pandemic in ways that you never would have expected before, right? I mean, we all had to deal with social distancing and masking and vaccine and not only that, but of course, the global economy seized up and people also stopped moving around for like a couple of years. An enormous amount, trillions and trillions of dollars were spent and that got us through an incredibly difficult time. But on the back of that, you suddenly have no more money that's being thrown at everyone, and you've got inflation that comes from, all of a sudden, the supply chains moving and demand moving. You know that these are costs that people are paying, that people no longer have those checks that were coming in during the pandemic, and those savings have been deployed already if you're working or even middle class. And people are moving again, people are moving not just from city to city, but also around the world. So migration is really picking up. And you really don't want to be the leader who's holding the bag when that happens. That's absolutely a big piece of what happened in France. It's a big piece of what happened in the United Kingdom, South Africa, India.

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Paige Fusco

Graphic Truth: 2024 Euro Cup of Approval

The Euro Cup kicked off on June 14 and is now down to the final eight, with the beautiful game having seen its fair share of victories and upsets in recent weeks. At the same time, battles have been waged on the political stage, with the far right surging first in European Parliament elections and then in the first round in France this past weekend.

All this talk of soccer and politics made us wonder … how well would these countries compete if the matches were decided based on national leader approval ratings?

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Marine Le Pen, French far-right leader and far-right Rassemblement National (National Rally - RN) party candidate, reacts on stage after partial results in the first round of the early French parliamentary elections in Henin-Beaumont, France, June 30, 2024.

REUTERS/Yves Herman

Can Le Pen rewrite French politics next week?

Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally party, aka RN, topped the first round of voting on Sunday, winning about a third of the French vote – the best showing in the party’s half-century history. But in next Sunday’s round two, will she be able to win a majority?

Non: Macron’s Ensemble party, which placed third with about 20%, is hobbled, but the left and center right are also closing ranks against Le Pen. In hundreds of races, they’re withdrawing third-place candidates to consolidate direct challenges to RN. Respected pollsters predict about 270 seats for Le Pen, 19 shy of a majority.

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French President Emmanuel Macron speaks next to NATO Secretary General after a meeting at the Elysee Presidential Palace in Paris on June 24, 2024.

Photo by Raphael Lafargue/ABACAPRESS.COM

Macron’s election gambit looks doomed to fail

France faces a nail-biter snap election this Sunday. Barring one of the biggest polling errors in French history, President Emmanuel Macron is set to lose his parliamentary majority.

Where are the polls? The far-right National Rally, aka RN, party led by Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella is ahead with 35-38% of the vote, far exceeding Macron’s party, which is polling around 20% and falling. But an unlikely alliance of leftist parties calling itself the New Popular Front, or NFP, is garnering 28-31% of the vote, and given France’s unpredictable two-round voting system, the final result is anyone’s guess.

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British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaks during a Conservative general election campaign event, in London, on June 24, 2024.

REUTERS/Phil Noble/

Viewpoint: Expect more drubbings for incumbents in France and the UK​

Upcoming elections in France and the UK appear likely to deliver historic defeats for both countries’ ruling parties in a challenging electoral cycle for incumbents around the world. The polling shows the centrist alliance led by French President Emmanuel Macron’s Rennaissance party trailing both the far-right National Rally and the left-wing New Popular Front ahead of the legislative elections on June 30 and July 7 – pointing to an extremely difficult government formation process.

Meanwhile, the UK’s ruling Conservative party's dire polling ahead of the July 4 elections has prompted speculation of an “extinction event” that renders it virtually irrelevant in the next parliament. These votes follow others in countries including South Africa and India where the incumbents performed worse than expected.

What’s going on here? Eurasia Group expert Lindsay Newman says it’s a “long-COVID story” of the pandemic’s economic aftershocks fueling a political backlash. We asked her to explain.

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France's snap election: Understanding why Macron took the risk
France's snap election: Understanding why Macron took the risk | Mark Carney | GZERO World

France's snap election: Understanding why Macron took the risk

With Emmanuel Macron’s approval ratings at a historic low, and far-right parties gaining popularity, could France’s upcoming election be its own “Brexit” moment? Mark Carney, former governor of the Banks of England and Canada and current UN Special Envoy on Climate Action & Finance, joins Ian Bremmer on GZERO World to discuss snap elections in the UK and France, the complexities of Brexit, and its ongoing impact on domestic politics in Europe.

“There are a wide range of aspects of the UK-European relationship which don't work,” Carney says, “There's massive red tape, for example, in agricultural products, massive red tape and delays at the border, the inner workings of a very interconnected financial system.”

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