France July 2024 –

Written by  //  July 8, 2024  //  Europe & EU, France  //  No comments

7-8 July

Jeremy Kinsman: France’s Election: A Good Night for the Left, a Bad One for Le Pen, and a Mixed Bag for Macron
(The Atlantic) A chastened Macron must now bend to share government with the democratic left, which by evidence is much closer than he is to public sentiment today; on the cost of living, the hardship of the daily grind, income disparity, and the eternal wall between Parisian elites and les cols bleus.
But Macron can take satisfaction that he won a showdown with Madame le Pen that ought to dampen her optimism about finally winning a presidential election 2027 (her 7th try).
This is good news for Europe, Ukraine, immigrants, inclusion, and participatory democracy.
And whatever the nuances, it’s a massive relief in France, and far and wide.

Bardella to lead new far-right European Parliament group
The leader of France’s far-right National Rally (RN), Jordan Bardella, will head a new right-wing grouping in the European Parliament, Patriots for Europe.
(BBC) The announcement came the day after Mr Bardella’s party lost the second round of France’s snap legislative election.
In a post-election speech on Sunday night, Mr Bardella announced that the RN’s members of the European Parliament (MEPs) would join a “large group” that would influence the “balance of power in Europe, rejecting the flood of migrants, punitive ecology, and the seizing of our sovereignty”.
On Monday Mr Bardella said Patriots for Europe represented “hope for the tens of millions of citizens in the European nations who value their identity, their sovereignty and their freedom”.
Anne Applebaum on X: “Note that Bardella hints that opponents are illegitimate – says a “dishonourable alliance’ prevented victory. That is very much the language of autocratic populism”

5 things to know about France’s messy election
What happens now? Did Macron’s snap election work? Is Le Pen finished? POLITICO walks you through the rubble.
Governing France will be hellish now
The 577-seat National Assembly, the lower house of France’s legislature, is not a pretty sight — split between the left, the center and the far-right. No group is even close to a majority, with all of them falling short of 200 MPs.
Le Pen is down, but not out
the party dramatically increased the number of its lawmakers in the National Assembly. How much longer can the establishment keep them out of power?
Macron’s gamble backfired, but it could have been worse
Before the snap election, the president commanded the largest group in parliament. Now he will likely have to work with an opposition politician as prime minister. His authority at home and credibility abroad have been damaged.
Mélenchon won’t be in charge
Mélenchon can’t even convince other parties within the loose left-wing alliance he is part of to put him in power – The broader leftist coalition — under the banner of the New Popular Front — is falling out already. Its leaders on Sunday evening were sending conflicting messages about their goals.
What might emerge from the mess?
There’s no easy answer to this one. As no party has won outright, it’s possible the president could opt for a cooling off period that will give parties time to hold coalition talks.
Macron could then sound out a left-wing figure to form a government, given that the left has emerged as the largest group in parliament.
The Socialist Party for instance has entirely not ruled out building a wider coalition but it’s unlikely that Mélenchon’s France Unbowed would agree to watering down its manifesto.
Alternatively, Macron could appoint a caretaker government, keeping Attal as PM. He could even adopt the Italian model and nominate a technocratic team of experts under a consensual figure. Such an administration would refrain from making ambitious plans and focus on keeping the wheels of the state in motion.

French voters deliver a win for the left, a blow for Le Pen and a hung parliament
Pollsters see leftist alliance first with up to 198 seats
Macron’s centrists projected to win up to 169 seats
Far-right RN and allies seen winning up to 143 seats
Much uncertainty over shape of next government
(Reuters) – France faced potential political deadlock after elections on Sunday threw up a hung parliament, with a leftist alliance unexpectedly taking the top spot but no group winning a majority.
Voters delivered a major setback for Marine Le Pen’s nationalist, eurosceptic National Rally (RN), which opinion polls had predicted would win the second-round ballot but ended up in the third spot, according to pollsters’ projections.
The results were also a blow for centrist President Emmanuel Macron, who called the snap election to clarify the political landscape after his ticket took a battering at the hands of the RN in European Parliament elections last month.
He ended up with a hugely fragmented parliament, in what is set to weaken France’s role in the European Union and elsewhere abroad and make it hard for anyone to push through a domestic agenda.

2 July
The Trussing Hour
Although Liz Truss’s disastrous stint as UK prime minister in 2022 should have warned others of the dangers of fiscal activism, radical parties in France seem to have learned nothing. The stage may be set for another collision between a reckless government and financial markets, with central bankers caught in the middle.
Notwithstanding the historical lessons, trussing politicians will continue to demonize central banks. That may well happen in France this year, and it is likely to happen in the United States if Donald Trump wins the presidential election this November. Limitations on government action often lead angry citizens to demand more radical and destabilizing options, and that can lead countries to turn in on themselves and abandon international commitments, financial stability be damned.

1 July
Roger Cohen: The Center Collapses in France, Leaving Macron Marooned
Squeezed by the far-right National Rally party and the left, President Emmanuel Macron faces a country that may prove ungovernable.
…one of the more conspicuous self-inflicted debacles in recent European politics.
Mr. Macron did not have to call an election just weeks before the Paris Olympics, even though the National Rally trounced him in European parliamentary elections. It is a measure of the desperate straits of France today that a meager victory for Mr. Macron would now be defined as keeping the National Rally, led by Marine Le Pen, from an absolute majority in the National Assembly, even if the price of that is ungovernable chaos.

The far-right National Rally won big in the first round of voting. Just how big will not be clear until after runoffs are held on July 7.
(NYT) President Emmanuel Macron’s risky decision to call snap legislative elections in France has backfired badly, enabling the far right to dominate the first round of voting held on Sunday.
But the French will return to the polls next Sunday for a second round of voting to choose their representatives in the 577-seat National Assembly, the country’s lower and more prominent house of Parliament.
France is in unpredictable territory, with the future of Mr. Macron’s second term at stake. The nationalist, anti-immigrant National Rally, led by Marine Le Pen , has never been closer to potentially governing the country.
France’s parties launch new push after far-right success
France’s political rivals barely had time to digest the results of National Rally (RN)’s election success, before they had to kick-start a new campaign for the final vote.
The anti-immigration party secured one in three votes in the first round of parliamentary elections. They have now set their sights on winning an absolute majority.
RN leader Jordan Bardella, who hopes to be France’s next PM, appealed to voters to make a choice between a left-wing alliance he called “an existential threat to the French nation” and a party of patriots ready to leap into action.
PM Gabriel Attal, who may be days from losing his job, says the stakes are clear – to stop the far right winning an absolute majority.

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