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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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Marine Le Pen, president of the French far-right National Rally (Rassemblement National) party parliamentary group, gestures during the party's campaign for the EU elections, in Paris, France, on June 2, 2024.

REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Viewpoint: Far right poised for gains in EU elections

Nearly 400 million people across the 27 countries of the EU will be eligible to vote from June 6-9 for members of the European Parliament. These representatives will serve a five-year term and be charged with passing and amending EU legislation. But their first order of business will be to elect the president of the European Commission, the EU’s executive body. They will vote on a candidate proposed by the European Council, which comprises the EU heads of state or government, based on the parliamentary election results.

Amid intensifying economic concerns and longstanding fears of migration, far-right parties are expected to expand their parliamentary representation. We asked Eurasia Group experts Anna-Carina Hamker and Mujtaba Rahman why that is and what this strong showing could mean for EU policy and politics over the next five years.

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