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A turbulent month for France ending with a blockade of the far-right National Rally Party

A historical turn out for the elections took place in France today with 67,5% French people going to the polls. This is the highest turnout since 1981, demonstrating the importance of these elections for the French people.


French voters came out to elect the 577 lawmakers, for a five-year mandate, who will sit in the National Assembly. Following its dissolution declared by French President Emanuel Macron on 9th June.


President Marcon dissolved the Assembly following his party’s strong defeat in the June European Elections. This decision left French citizens in disarray, fearing national instability just weeks before the Olympics Games.


Many French voters are unhappy with Macron’s authoritarian decisions. However, since none of the parties won absolute majority, it means that the French President has the ball in his court to decide who the be the next prime minster.


How does the French Legislative elections work? French elections

Each voter elects for the local deputy to represent them in the National Assembly. These elections are held in two rounds.


If a deputy obtains 50% of votes in the first round, they are elected without the need for a second round. If a party wins 289 seats, it obtains an absolute majority, which means that is can elect a member of its party as prime minister.


This year, the first round of the elections took place on the 30th of June and the second round on the 7th July.


A turbulent month for France

A month ago, no one would have thought that France would find itself in this situation, with the National Assembly dissolved and the left-wing coalition winning the largest number of seats.


Recent polls over the past few days predicted that the far-right National Rally party, the Rassemblement Nationale, would win the most seats in the Assembly. However, the left-wing coalition, the Nouveau Front Populaire, came first closely followed by Emsemble!, the coalition of the Presidential Party.


Jordan Bardella, leader of the far-right National Rally Party, in his speech following the announcement of the results. "I say tonight with gravity that depriving millions of French people of the possibility of seeing their ideas brought to power will never be a viable destiny for France (…) Tonight, by deliberately trying to paralyze our institutions, Emmanuel Macron has not simply pushed the country towards uncertainty and instability, he has deprived the French people of any response to their day-to-day difficulties for many months to come.”

 


french elections
188-199 NFP - 10 Divers Left - 164-168 Ensemble! - 63 LR & Divers Right - 135-143 RN - 5 Divers

Meaning of these elections for the planet and climate policy


The New Popular Front, the far-left coalition, came out on top in these elections and is increasingly raising hopes for climate policy. The coalition is made up of the Socialist Party, the Green Party, the Communist Party and France Insoumise, led by controversial politician Jean-Luc Mélenchon.  


For this coalition, climate issues are at the heart of their manifesto. It aims to further develop renewable energy in the country to meet net zero 2050 goals. They are calling for a ban on the use of glyphosate and bee-killing neonicotinoids, and for more affordable public transport.


They believe that water is a "common good", and that it should be managed by the public authorities, with free access to the "first cubic metres essential to life" and progressive and differentiated pricing according to use. In addition, the programme aims to achieve "very good ecological and chemical status of all rivers and groundwater reserves" during its term of office.


What’s next?

It is now time for the winning parties to come together and discuss about their next set. The most important question is whether Gabriel Attal, the current Prime Minister, will remain in office or be replaced.


Within the NFP there have already been different opinions, with Jean-Luc Mélenchon stating that "The prime minister must go. The president must invite the New Popular Front to govern." However, Raphaël Gucksmann grouped within the NFP party calls for discussions to take place with the Presidential party. He adds, “We're ahead, but we're in a divided parliament (...) so we're going to have to act like grown-ups (…) We're going to have to talk, to discuss, to engage in dialogue.”


All eyes are now locked on France as people wait for Macron’s decision.

 

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