How the French Election Results Unfolded (2024)

Table of Contents
France is facing a hung parliament after elections: Here’s what happened. The National Rally is defiant after a disappointing result. The left united to keep the far right from power. The strategy appeared to work. Supporters of France’s left-wing alliance celebrate, while jeering the far right. France’s campaign season was marred by racist attacks and violent acts. “I voted for the presidential majority, mostly to stop the New Popular Front. It’s all about their antisemitism and their extremist economic policies.” Gridlock? Instability? Without an absolute majority, France’s way forward is unclear. The left-wing New Popular Front exceeded expectations. Who’s in it? “We’re worried, that’s what’s predominant. We’re worried about the rise of the far right. It’s really fear that’s driving us, not the hope that there will be something positive in all this. ” “He doesn’t listen to the people and he’s surrounded himself by an elite group. The National Rally is close to the people and they want to return France to what it was.” Macron’s rivals say they’ll fix the economy, but economists are skeptical. “It’s the first time I’ve been so scared of what’s happening in France. Ever since the dissolution, I’ve felt like a hostage. I never would have voted for France Unbowed under normal circ*mstances. We are forced to make a choice that we would not have made otherwise in order to block the National Rally.” Who are the key players in France’s election? Renaissance National Rally New Popular Front What happens on election night in France, and what comes next.

Pinned

Aurelien Breeden and Roger Cohen

Reporting from Paris

France is facing a hung parliament after elections: Here’s what happened.

France was facing a hung parliament after no party secured an absolute majority in legislative elections on Sunday, as a surprising surge from a new left-wing coalition helped hold back the far-right National Rally’s push to power.

The results will put the country on a path for months of potential political gridlock at a time when many in France are angry over issues like inflation and immigration.

With all but three of the 577 National Assembly seats left to be called, numbers compiled by The New York Times using data from the Interior Ministry confirm earlier projections showing that no single party or bloc will win a majority.

The left-wing New Popular Front, which came together just last month with the goal of keeping the National Rally from power, won 177 seats, compared with 148 for President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist bloc, known as Ensemble. The National Rally trailed with 142.

The results came as a shock to many in France, where the National Rally had emerged as the top performer in the first round of voting last week.

The New Popular Front appeared to have capitalized on its recent momentum and fears that the far-right party was a threat to French democratic values and institutions. Its supporters took to the streets of Paris on Sunday night to celebrate, although some in France were fearful of what the far left would bring: The largest party in the alliance, France Unbowed, is known for its incendiary far-left politics.

Here’s what else to know:

  • High turnout: Voter participation at 5 p.m. local time was the highest in over two decades, at nearly 60 percent, the Interior Ministry said. That was much higher than during the previous legislative elections in 2022, when the participation rate at the same time was about 38 percent.

  • Far right defiant: Jordan Bardella, the president of the National Rally, acknowledged that his party had fallen short of expectations but noted that it had captured its highest ever number of seats in the National Assembly. “Unfortunately,” Mr. Bardella told supporters in Paris, “dangerous electoral deals” made by Mr. Macron’s allies and the left had “deprived” the country of a far-right government.

  • Macron weakened: Mr. Macron, who has three more years in office, called the elections last month in a risky gamble. His office said on Sunday that the French president was “taking note of the results of the legislative elections as they come in.” “The President will ensure that the sovereign choice of the French people is respected,” it said in a statement.

  • Security concerns: The French authorities had deployed about 30,000 security forces around the country amid fears of potential unrest. In the cities of Rennes and Nantes, protesters threw fireworks and bottles toward riot police officers, who responded by firing tear gas, the Agence France-Presse news agency reported, adding that about 30 people had been arrested in Rennes. At Place de la République in Paris, where thousands of people had gathered, police officers also used tear gas and some protesters threw objects at them.

July 7, 2024, 7:10 p.m. ET

July 7, 2024, 7:10 p.m. ET

Ségolène Le Stradic and Matthew Mpoke Bigg

The National Rally is defiant after a disappointing result.

Image

Leaders of France’s far-right National Rally tried to put a brave face on projected results from parliamentary elections on Sunday that showed the party had failed to win the most seats, saying that they remained on a path to power despite a disappointing night.

The National Rally, which had finished first in an initial round of balloting last week, was set to hold its most seats ever in the National Assembly, said the party’s president, Jordan Bardella. He denounced a political strategy by its centrist and left-wing rivals to withdraw candidates from hundreds of races to avoid splitting their support, saying they had “deprived” the country of a far-right government.

Still, with almost all of the 577 National Assembly seats left to be called, the National Rally had amassed 142 seats, the most of any single party. It was also winning about 37 percent of the votes nationally, the most of any party.

“This evening, an old world has fallen,” Mr. Bardella said. “Nothing can stop a people who have started to hope again.”

Marine Le Pen, the party’s leader and the daughter of its founder, also sought to put the result in a wider context. “The tide is rising,” she said. “It didn’t rise high enough this time, but it’s still rising. And as a result, our victory, in reality, is only delayed.”

The National Rally’s leaders argued that many of France’s problems stemmed from immigration and had campaigned on a plan for “national preference,” under which certain jobs, social benefits, schooling and health care would be reserved for citizens rather than immigrants.

The New Popular Front coalition of four left-wing parties came together quickly last month in a bid to present a united front and keep the National Rally from winning a majority after President Emmanuel Macron called the snap election.

Results in the western region of La Sarthe illustrated the challenge for National Rally supporters in overcoming a bitter defeat. The party had won a plurality of votes in four of five constituencies there last week, but fell short of the absolute majority required to avoid a runoff. In the second round of voting on Sunday, no National Rally candidate was elected for any of the five seats.

“It’s a shame,” said Felix Aubry, a student and the campaign manager for one of the National Rally candidates, François Fèvre. “It’s crazy to see this massive shift in votes.” He described the recent alliance of left-wing parties as “unnatural” and tried to put a positive spin on the National Rally’s progress.

“The National Rally has still made a very big breakthrough, so it’s still historic,” he said, adding, “When you see all the things that have been put in place to block it, it’s huge.”

Advertisem*nt

SKIP ADVERTIsem*nT

How the French Election Results Unfolded (5)

July 7, 2024, 6:31 p.m. ET

July 7, 2024, 6:31 p.m. ET

Allison McCartney

With only 10 of the 577 National Assembly seats left to be called, mostly in the Paris area, the results confirm earlier projections showing no single party or bloc will win a majority. The left-wing New Popular Front has 174 seats, compared with 145 for President Macron’s centrist bloc and 141 for the far-right National Rally. The numbers were compiled by The New York Times using data from the French Interior Ministry. Many of the races still being tallied are from areas where the far right has less support.

July 7, 2024, 6:03 p.m. ET

July 7, 2024, 6:03 p.m. ET

Catherine Porter

Reporting from Paris

The left united to keep the far right from power. The strategy appeared to work.

Image

Even as vote counting was still underway across France on Sunday night, one thing was clear: The left-wing coalition called the New Popular Front did much better than expected and helped deny the far right a victory.

Projections show the coalition coming out in front and gaining dozens of seats — a feat for an alliance that was forged only last month with the goal of keeping the far-right National Rally from power.

The alliance includes four left-wing parties: Communists, Socialists, Greens and the far-left party, France Unbowed. While many in France cheered what appeared to be a loss for the far right, others were fearful of what the far left might bring.

Video

How the French Election Results Unfolded (7)

Last week, after the first vote in a two-round election, the coalition withdrew more than 130 of its candidates from three-way races in which the far right had a chance of winning — and pushed their supporters to vote strategically against far-right candidates.

The strategy appeared to have worked.

Despite the apparent win for the left, the polls showed that no party or alliance got an absolute majority that would make it the likely choice to form a government.

Still, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, founder of France Unbowed, a pugnacious and divisive figure, quickly declared that his party was not willing to negotiate to form a coalition government. Instead, he demanded that the left-wing alliance be given the reins to govern so it could implement its “entire program.”

Olivier Faure, leader of the Socialist Party, also said the alliance would not negotiate to form coalition government.

“That would betray the vote of French people and prolong the Macronist program,” he said.

Some voters consider France Unbowed, which has members who have been accused of antisemitism, to be at least as dangerous as the far right. And some economists have worried about the alliance’s spending plans at a time when France is already mired in debt.

The far-left’s proposed platform includes raising France’s monthly minimum wage, lowering the legal retirement age from 64 to 60, building one million new affordable housing units in five years and freezing the prices of basic necessities including food, energy and gas. The state would also pay households all costs associated with their children’s education, including meals at cafeterias, transportation and extracurricular activities.

Instead of drastically cutting immigration, as the far right had promised, the coalition pledged to make the asylum process more generous and smooth.

The New Popular Front has pledged to come up with the tens of billions of euros needed to pay for its programs by taxing wealthy individuals.

“It’s time to tax the super rich and the super profits,” said Mr. Faure to cheers Sunday night.

If tasked by President Emmanuel Macron to form a government, it is unclear who among the coalition’s leaders would be put forward as prime minister.

During the frantic four-week election campaign, the leaders of three of the four parties insisted they would not be led by Mr. Mélenchon.

At a time when attacks on and threats against French Jews have spiked, Mr. Mélenchon has been repeatedly accused of fanning antisemitism.

His fiery approach to politics and his unwavering pro-Palestinian views in the aftermath of the Oct. 7 attack on Israel were largely to blame for a breakup of the four groups last year after months of strained relations over other issues.

Mr. Mélenchon has refused to call Hamas a terrorist organization and vehemently denounced Israel’s military operation in Gaza as “genocide.” He also labeled a large demonstration against antisemitism, attended by two former French presidents, a rendezvous for “the friends of unconditional support of the massacre.”

July 7, 2024, 5:30 p.m. ET

July 7, 2024, 5:30 p.m. ET

Aurelien Breeden

Reporting from Paris

It’s 30 minutes to midnight and some reports of post-election unrest are coming in. In the cities of Rennes and Nantes, protesters threw fireworks and bottles toward riot police officers, who responded by firing tear gas, the Agence France-Presse news agency reported, adding that about 30 people had been arrested in Rennes.

July 7, 2024, 5:34 p.m. ET

July 7, 2024, 5:34 p.m. ET

Aida Alami

Reporting from Paris

The situation has also gotten tense in Paris at Place de la République, where police officers used tear gas and protesters threw objects at them.

Advertisem*nt

SKIP ADVERTIsem*nT

July 7, 2024, 5:26 p.m. ET

July 7, 2024, 5:26 p.m. ET

Adam Nossiter and Aida Alami

Reporting from Paris

Supporters of France’s left-wing alliance celebrate, while jeering the far right.

Image

Supporters of France’s left-wing New Popular Front alliance took to the streets of Paris on Sunday night to celebrate a performance better than many had expected in the parliamentary election and to cheer the failure of the far-right National Rally to capture a majority, according to initial projections.

As votes were being counted across the country, a crowd gathered at the Place de la Bataille de Stalingrad waved the national tricolor flag and chanted slogans. They booed when Jordan Bardella, the 28-year-old president of the National Rally, appeared on a big screen. Some in the crowd made an obscene gesture.

“It’s a true relief,” Hugo Salomo, 31, said of the election projections. “We didn’t vote for the left just to block off the right. The left has awakened, and we’ve shown that the extreme right is not an inevitability. We’ve shown that something else is possible.”

Others in the crowd saw the projections as a repudiation of the National Rally’s reputation for racism and its anti-immigration policies. Mr. Bardella had promised to reduce immigration and to reserve jobs, social benefits, schooling and health care for French citizens.

Margot Cullens, a 24-year-old social worker who works with refugees, said: “It’s a huge shame of France that people always say that immigrants are always the problem.”

A crowd cheered and chanted for Marine Tondelier, the secretary general of the Green Party, which is part of the New Popular Front, when she appeared at her party’s headquarters in Paris.

“The night is going to be long, it was important for me to start it with you. Tonight, there is a high chance the Popular Front is first,” she said, adding: “Tonight the people have won.”

Martin Planqué, 25, a manager in the entertainment industry, said the result “shows that France does not want to be racist,” adding that “it shows that France wants to see hope in the future.”

At the Place de la République in central Paris, another crowd chanted, “Siamo Tutti Anti Fascisti” — an Italian phrase that translates to “We are all anti-fascists.”

Video

How the French Election Results Unfolded (12)

July 7, 2024, 4:51 p.m. ET

July 7, 2024, 4:51 p.m. ET

Catherine Porter

Reporting from Paris

France’s campaign season was marred by racist attacks and violent acts.

Image

The French election campaign was swift and tense. It was also marred by racist episodes and acts of violence.

The far-right National Rally has railed against immigration, which its leader, Marine Le Pen, has said has diluted what it means to be French. The left-wing coalition, which appeared to have captured the most parliamentary seats, according to projections released Sunday, includes the firebrand Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who has been accused of fanning antisemitism.

Gérald Darmanin, France’s interior minister, said on Friday that more than 50 people — including candidates, their substitutes or supporters — had been “physically assaulted” during the campaign. One of them was Prisca Thevenot, the government spokeswoman, who was putting up campaign posters in her constituency just outside Paris.

Stories of racist attacks have circulated widely online and in the media.

One television news program filmed a couple who supported the National Rally hurling insults at a Black neighbor, telling her to “go to the doghouse.”

A television host of North African descent revealed a racist letter he had received at his home. A bakery in Avignon was set on fire and covered in hom*ophobic and racist tags.

Since the snap election campaign began last month, Fatma Bouvet de la Maisonneuve, a psychiatrist who has a practice in the Parisian suburb of Montrouge, said she had been overwhelmed by new clients, with as many as two calling a day and some even arriving unannounced to her office.

“These are people who are very scared,” said Ms. Bouvet de la Maisonneuve, whose practice specializes in the effects of racism on mental health. “They are scared for their children. They are worried about being attacked.”

She said that her clients with dual citizenship were frightened by the policies of the far-right National Rally. The party has announced that, if elected, it would limit people with dual passports from holding positions considered sensitive, like running the secret service or a power plant. (The early projections on Sunday indicated that the National Rally would fall short of expectations.)

“They are fearful for their jobs,” said Ms. Bouvet de la Maisonneuve, who is French Tunisian. “The civil servants are very scared that the law will be hardened and applied across the spectrum.”

Advertisem*nt

SKIP ADVERTIsem*nT

July 7, 2024, 4:42 p.m. ET

July 7, 2024, 4:42 p.m. ET

Aurelien Breeden

Reporting from Paris

There had been worries about violent protests Sunday night after the results, and the French authorities had deployed about 30,000 security forces around the country, including about 5,000 in the Paris region. So far, widespread unrest does not appear to have materialized, although tens of thousands of demonstrators have gathered at Place de la République in Paris to celebrate the left’s success and the far right’s weaker-than-expected showing.

Image

July 7, 2024, 4:14 p.m. ET

July 7, 2024, 4:14 p.m. ET

Adam Nossiter

“I voted for the presidential majority, mostly to stop the New Popular Front. It’s all about their antisemitism and their extremist economic policies.”

Raphael Baudoin, a financial consultant and Macron voter, who acknowledged that the president “is a little bit disconnected” from the French people

Image

July 7, 2024, 4:01 p.m. ET

July 7, 2024, 4:01 p.m. ET

Aurelien Breeden

Reporting from Paris

French pollsters’ projections for parliamentary seat totals are starting to narrow. Five of France’s main polling institutes project that the left-wing New Popular Front will be the largest bloc with roughly 170 to 200 seats. President Macron’s centrist coalition will have roughly 150 to 180 seats and the far-right National Rally will have 110 to 150 seats, according to the projections. There are 577 seats in the National Assembly; 289 are needed for a majority.

July 7, 2024, 3:50 p.m. ET

July 7, 2024, 3:50 p.m. ET

Aurelien Breeden

Reporting from Paris

Gabriel Attal, Macron’s prime minister, said he would submit his resignation on Monday, a move that had been widely expected if the French leader’s centrist coalition lost its parliamentary majority. He said he would stay on if Macron asked him to do so until a new government was formed.

Image

July 7, 2024, 3:54 p.m. ET

July 7, 2024, 3:54 p.m. ET

Aurelien Breeden

Reporting from Paris

In a speech at the prime minister’s residence in Paris, Attal, whom Macron appointed just six months ago, praised French voters for preventing the “extremes” on the left or right from securing an absolute majority. But he acknowledged that “our country is experiencing an unprecedented political situation,” only weeks before the world’s eyes turn to Paris for the Summer Olympics.

Advertisem*nt

SKIP ADVERTIsem*nT

July 7, 2024, 3:35 p.m. ET

July 7, 2024, 3:35 p.m. ET

Aurelien Breeden

Reporting from Paris

Gridlock? Instability? Without an absolute majority, France’s way forward is unclear.

Image

France could be headed for sustained political deadlock after no party or alliance of parties appeared to have won an absolute majority of parliamentary seats, according to projections by French polling institutes based on preliminary results.

The immediate way forward is unclear, experts said, but the country could be headed for months of political instability, with President Emmanuel Macron facing a deeply divided Parliament, including two blocs firmly opposed to him.

“Without an absolute majority, the government will be at the mercy of opposition parties banding together” to topple it, said Dominique Rousseau, an emeritus professor of public law at the Panthéon-Sorbonne University in Paris.

The projections suggested that the National Assembly, France’s lower house of Parliament, will be roughly divided into three main blocs with conflicting agendas and, in some cases, deep animosity toward one another.

Pollster projections released Sunday night after polls closed in the final round of legislative elections indicated that a group of left-wing parties called the New Popular Front would win the most seats, followed by Mr. Macron’s centrist alliance and the nationalist, anti-immigration National Rally. It was not clear whether the centrists or the right-wing National Rally would be the second-largest bloc.

As it stands, none of the three major blocs appears able to work with the others. Each could try to cobble together a working majority with the smattering of smaller parties or independent lawmakers that will take up the rest of the lower house’s seats. But their ability to do so is uncertain.

“French political culture is not conducive to compromise,” said Samy Benzina, a public law professor at the University of Poitiers, noting that France’s institutions are normally designed to produce “clear majorities that can govern on their own.”

A scenario in which no party successfully secures an absolute majority — at least 289 of the lower house’s 577 seats — is not unprecedented in France. That is exactly what happened during the last legislative elections, in 2022. Mr. Macron still managed to put together functioning governments that have successfully passed bills over the past two years.

But that was only because Mr. Macron’s centrist coalition was large enough — with about 250 seats — and the parties opposed to him were too divided to pose a consistent threat. When it wasn’t, Mr. Macron’s government came dangerously close to falling.

This time, Mr. Macron’s options appear far more limited.

His centrist coalition cannot govern on its own. And few smaller parties — even more moderate ones on the left or the right — are eager to be associated with Mr. Macron, who is deeply unpopular and has three years remaining in his term.

The National Rally has already said it would govern only if it had an absolute majority, or if it was just short of one and thought it could strike a deal with enough other lawmakers to bridge the gap. Marine Le Pen, the party’s longtime leader, told French radio last week that it would not agree “just to be sitting in a minister’s seat without being able to do anything,” which she said would be “the worst betrayal” of the party’s voters.

On Sunday, a leader from one of the parties in the left-wing New Popular Front, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, said he would not enter into negotiations with Mr. Macron’s coalition to form a government together.

Some analysts and politicians have suggested the possibility of a broad, “rainbow” coalition of lawmakers, agreeing on a limited number of key issues and stretching from the Greens to more moderate conservatives. But several political leaders have already ruled that out.

Another possibility is a caretaker government of politically neutral experts that handles day-to-day business until there is a political breakthrough. This, too, would be a departure from French tradition.

France has a robust civil service that could run things for a time without a government. But the Summer Olympics are just weeks away, and Parliament usually approves a budget in the fall. Some analysts believe that Mr. Macron’s position will become so untenable he will have to resign, but he has said he won’t.

July 7, 2024, 3:23 p.m. ET

July 7, 2024, 3:23 p.m. ET

Aurelien Breeden

Reporting from Paris

The left-wing New Popular Front appears to be pulling ahead of Macron’s centrist coalition and the far-right National Rally, according to the latest projections published by five of the main pollsters. Official results are starting to trickle in on the Interior Ministry’s website.

July 7, 2024, 3:16 p.m. ET

July 7, 2024, 3:16 p.m. ET

Aida Alami

Reporting from Paris

At the Paris headquarters of the Green Party, part of the surging left-wing bloc, the party’s national secretary, Marine Tondelier, was welcomed with cheers and chants. “The night is going to be long, it was important for me to start it with you,” she said, adding: “Tonight the people have won.”

Advertisem*nt

SKIP ADVERTIsem*nT

July 7, 2024, 3:09 p.m. ET

July 7, 2024, 3:09 p.m. ET

Catherine Porter

Reporting from Paris

The left-wing New Popular Front exceeded expectations. Who’s in it?

Image

The night President Emmanuel Macron announced a snap election for France’s National Assembly last month, two words began to buzz around the internet and the media: Popular Front. It was a reference to the left-wing alliance formed in the 1930s to resist rising fascism in Europe and at home.

Now a group of France’s main left-wing parties have banded together to fight what they see as a new danger: Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally. That left-wing alliance called itself the New Popular Front, and according to early projections from Sunday’s legislative elections, it not only succeeded in denying the National Rally a parliamentary majority. It also appears to have secured the most seats, according to the projections.

Mr. Macron decided to force the election for the National Assembly, the lower house of Parliament, because of an embarrassing defeat last month to Ms. Le Pen’s party in a European parliamentary election.

The left-wing group of parties, which had only broken up months before over personal and policy disagreements, responded by reuniting. Despite its rushed beginnings, the New Popular Front came in second in the first round of voting last week, just five percentage points behind the National Rally and its allies. Mr. Macron’s centrist Renaissance party and its allies came a distant third.

But many in France fear elements of the left as well, particularly because the largest party in the alliance, France Unbowed, is known for its incendiary far-left politics. Some members are also accused of antisemitism, particularly the pugnacious and divisive Jean-Luc Mélenchon, a longtime leftist leader and the founder of France Unbowed.

July 7, 2024, 3:02 p.m. ET

July 7, 2024, 3:02 p.m. ET

Aurelien Breeden

Reporting from Paris

President Macron is “taking note of the results of the legislative elections as they come in” but is not expected to make any statement tonight, his office said. “The President will ensure that the sovereign choice of the French people is respected,” a statement said.

How the French Election Results Unfolded (24)

July 7, 2024, 2:52 p.m. ET

July 7, 2024, 2:52 p.m. ET

Ségolène Amalia Josefa Le Stradic

Reporting from Le Mans in western France

“We’re worried, that’s what’s predominant. We’re worried about the rise of the far right. It’s really fear that’s driving us, not the hope that there will be something positive in all this. ”

Lawrence Langlois, 39, a teacher who voted in Le Mans

Image

Advertisem*nt

SKIP ADVERTIsem*nT

July 7, 2024, 2:40 p.m. ET

July 7, 2024, 2:40 p.m. ET

Aurelien Breeden

Reporting from Paris

Jordan Bardella, the president of the National Rally, acknowledged that his party had fallen short of expectations, even though it appeared on track to secure more lawmakers in the lower house than ever before.

“Today the National Rally made the biggest breakthrough in its history,” Bardella, 28, told supporters in Paris. “Unfortunately,” he added, “dangerous electoral deals” made by Macron’s centrist allies and the left had “deprived” the country of a far-right government.

Image

July 7, 2024, 2:44 p.m. ET

July 7, 2024, 2:44 p.m. ET

Aurelien Breeden

Reporting from Paris

Bardella was referring to the move by centrist and left-wing parties to pull over 200 candidates from three-way runoffs after the first round of voting to avoid splitting their vote, and to lower the National Rally’s chances of getting an absolute majority. He said Macron had “pushed the country into uncertainty and instability.”

July 7, 2024, 2:32 p.m. ET

July 7, 2024, 2:32 p.m. ET

Aurelien Breeden

Reporting from Paris

Although the picture is still murky, most early projections by French pollsters put the far-right National Rally in third place. That would be an extremely disappointing result for its supporters — and a sigh of relief for President Emmanuel Macron, who many critics blamed for calling the snap election that could have brought the far right to power.

July 7, 2024, 2:28 p.m. ET

July 7, 2024, 2:28 p.m. ET

Aurelien Breeden

Reporting from Paris

Leaders on the left are already claiming victory. Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the firebrand founder of the France Unbowed party that is part of the leftist New Popular Front bloc, told cheering supporters in Paris that it was President Macron’s “duty” to let the left govern. But projections suggest the bloc will not be able to secure an absolute majority. Mélenchon ruled out any negotiations with Macron’s centrist coalition to form a government together.

Image

July 7, 2024, 2:20 p.m. ET

July 7, 2024, 2:20 p.m. ET

Aurelien Breeden

Reporting from Paris

Projections from most French polling institutes suggest that the New Popular Front, an alliance of left-wing parties, won more seats than the far-right National Rally and President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist coalition. But the last polling places closed only 20 minutes ago, and it will not become clear until later tonight which bloc ultimately came out on top.

Advertisem*nt

SKIP ADVERTIsem*nT

July 7, 2024, 2:13 p.m. ET

July 7, 2024, 2:13 p.m. ET

Aurelien Breeden

Reporting from Paris

No party appears to have secured enough seats for an absolute majority in France’s lower house of Parliament, according to projections based on preliminary results.

It was also unclear which party would finish with the most seats.

July 7, 2024, 1:55 p.m. ET

July 7, 2024, 1:55 p.m. ET

Liz Alderman

Reporting from Beauvais, France

“He doesn’t listen to the people and he’s surrounded himself by an elite group. The National Rally is close to the people and they want to return France to what it was.”

Céline Galloise, 41, who criticized President Emmanuel Macron for not doing enough for the country. She voted for a National Rally candidate.

Image

July 7, 2024, 1:39 p.m. ET

July 7, 2024, 1:39 p.m. ET

Catherine Porter

Reporting from Paris

The sound of drills is echoing up the Champs Elysées in Paris, as shopkeepers board up their windows out of concern that protests might break out after election results are announced. Tourists snap photos, drink wine in the cafés and continue their Sunday shopping. It’s a bizarre juxtaposition, but there is a definite tension growing in the city as the last votes are being cast.

Image

July 7, 2024, 1:40 p.m. ET

July 7, 2024, 1:40 p.m. ET

Aida Alami

Reporting from Paris

The authorities have significantly tightened security in Paris ahead of the election results. Armed soldiers are patrolling near Place de la République, where a large gathering is expected tonight. Police trucks are also parked blocks from the square, where some protesters have already started to gather.

Image

July 7, 2024, 1:37 p.m. ET

July 7, 2024, 1:37 p.m. ET

Liz Alderman

Reporting from Beauvais, France

Macron’s rivals say they’ll fix the economy, but economists are skeptical.

Image

One of the messages that helped propel the far-right National Rally to the brink of power in France’s parliamentary elections on Sunday — a once-unthinkable shift — is a common refrain in U.S. politics: It’s the economy, stupid.

Both the National Rally and a coalition of left-wing parties called the New Popular Front won large gains in part by tapping into anger over a cost-of-living crisis and a sense that President Emmanuel Macron had grown out of touch and did not understand their struggles. Voting happens in two rounds, and candidates who reached certain thresholds in the first are competing in the second on Sunday.

A two-year streak of high inflation has left low- and middle-income French families struggling to pay for basics like energy, gas and food, while wages, in some cases, have failed to keep pace. Polls show that worries over “purchasing power” were a top concern of voters, alongside immigration and security. In the first round, blue-collar workers turned out in droves to vote for the National Rally, which is promising to help households and curb immigration. The New Popular Front came in second with promises to raise wages and lower the retirement age.

Left unclear is how the parties will pay for their pledges. Economists say many of the funding proposals are not credible, raising risks for a heavily indebted France.

Advertisem*nt

SKIP ADVERTIsem*nT

July 7, 2024, 1:31 p.m. ET

July 7, 2024, 1:31 p.m. ET

Aurelien Breeden

Reporting from Paris

Voters in France’s bigger cities like Paris and Marseille can still cast their ballots until 8 p.m. local time, but most polling stations around the country have now closed. Projections based on preliminary results are expected in about half an hour.

How the French Election Results Unfolded (36)

July 7, 2024, 1:28 p.m. ET

July 7, 2024, 1:28 p.m. ET

Ségolène Amalia Josefa Le Stradic

Reporting from Le Mans, France

“It’s the first time I’ve been so scared of what’s happening in France. Ever since the dissolution, I’ve felt like a hostage. I never would have voted for France Unbowed under normal circ*mstances. We are forced to make a choice that we would not have made otherwise in order to block the National Rally.”

Hélène Leguillon, 43, referring to the dissolution of Parliament. Her options in the second round of voting were a National Rally candidate or one from the hard-left France Unbowed.

Image

July 7, 2024, 1:20 p.m. ET

July 7, 2024, 1:20 p.m. ET

Catherine Porter

Reporting from Paris

Who are the key players in France’s election?

Image

France has been governed for the past seven years by President Emmanuel Macron and his centrist government. The vote on Sunday has turned into a race between the two main opponents of Mr. Macron’s Renaissance party: the far-right National Rally, which has surged in popularity, and a newly formed coalition of the country’s left-wing parties.

Mr. Macron called the snap legislative election last month after the National Rally trounced his party in European Parliament elections. The surprising decision sent the country into a three-week campaigning frenzy before the first round of voting last Sunday. That vote only settled 76 of the 577 seats in the National Assembly. The rest will be determined in the runoff on Sunday.

Here’s a look at the key players in the runoff election.

Renaissance

Image

This is Mr. Macron’s party, which up until the election held the most seats in the National Assembly together with its allies — though for the past two years, it has not had an absolute majority. Its election campaign has been led by the prime minister, Gabriel Attal, who has essentially run on the government’s record — lowering taxes and unemployment, tightening immigration rules and maintaining strong support for the European Union and Ukrainian defense. Renaissance and its allies came in a distant third in the first round, and are projected to lose many seats in Sunday’s election.

National Rally

Image

The country’s far-right, nationalist party has been led for the past two years by Jordan Bardella, 28. But its true leader is Marine Le Pen, the daughter of the party’s founder. The National Rally believes that many of country’s problems, from overspending to crime, stem from immigration. If his party wins an absolute majority, Mr. Bardella has promised to cut immigration, give the police more funding and power to fight crime, and begin to put in effect its long-held ideology of “national preference” — reserving jobs, social benefits, schooling and health care for French citizens, not immigrants. The party has also focused on voters’ thinning wallets and promised to lower taxes on energy of all kinds.

The National Rally and its allies, a splinter group from the more mainstream conservative party, won about 33 percent of the popular vote in the election’s first round last week, and polls show they are poised to win the most seats in the vote on Sunday, though perhaps not a majority.

New Popular Front

Image

This coalition of four left-wing parties came together quickly after the election was called to present a united front. Members of the same parties were in a similar coalition that formed in 2022 and unraveled last year — the communists, socialists and greens, along with members of the far-left party France Unbowed. The group has no official leader, and has sidelined the divisive founder of France Unbowed, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who has been widely accused of antisemitism.

Among the coalition’s promises are raising the minimum wage, lowering the legal retirement age to 60 and making the asylum process smoother and more generous. The New Popular Front got 28 percent of the vote last week, and it has since sharpened its focus on blocking the National Rally from getting elected with a majority. To do this, it withdrew more than 130 candidates who were in three-way runoffs, and instructed its supporters to vote for the remaining candidate who was not with the far right.

Advertisem*nt

SKIP ADVERTIsem*nT

July 7, 2024, 1:01 p.m. ET

July 7, 2024, 1:01 p.m. ET

Aurelien Breeden

Reporting from Paris

What happens on election night in France, and what comes next.

Image

French voters went back to the polls on Sunday for a second and final round of voting to choose representatives in the 577-seat National Assembly, the country’s lower and more prominent house of Parliament.

The vote carries high stakes for Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron, with the nationalist, anti-immigrant National Rally poised to do well and the possibility of months of political gridlock ahead.

France’s 577 electoral districts — one for each seat — cover the mainland and overseas departments and territories, as well as French citizens living abroad. France awards seats to candidates who get the most ballots in each district.

In the first round held a week ago, 76 legislative seats were won outright. The rest of the races went to runoffs, which are being held on Sunday.

While any number of candidates can compete in the first round in each district, there were specific thresholds to reach the second round of voting.In most cases the runoff will feature the top two vote-getters, but some might feature three or even four candidates who received votes equal to at least 12.5 percent of registered voters in their districts.

High voter participation led to more than 300 three-way runoffs after the first round last week. But left-wing parties and Mr. Macron’s centrist coalition pulled more than 200 of their candidates out of three-way races in order to avoid splitting the vote and to help prevent National Rally from winning an absolute majority. That left fewer than 100 three-way races remaining on Sunday.

The recipient of the most votes in the runoff wins the race.

Polls will close at 6 p.m. local time (12 p.m. Eastern) in most of France — although voting will stay open until 8 p.m. in some larger cities.

France’s Interior Ministry is expected to start publishing initial results at 8 p.m. (2 p.m. Eastern) and nationwide seat projections by polling institutes are expected at around the same time.

If the National Rally, which won the most votes in the first round, and its allies win a majority in the National Assembly, Mr. Macron would have little choice but to appoint a prime minister from the far-right party. That would put France’s domestic policy squarely in the hands of the far right, and could disrupt Mr. Macron’s defense and foreign policies.

If no clear majority emerges, Mr. Macron will have limited options in terms of how to proceed.

He could try to build a new coalition, but that might be challenging. The three main political blocs — the far right, the left-wing alliance and Mr. Macron’s centrist coalition — have radically different agendas and, in some cases, have expressed extreme animosity toward each other.

If no working majority can be cobbled together, the country could be headed for months of political deadlock or turmoil. Mr. Macron, who has ruled out resigning, cannot call new legislative elections for another year.

One possibility being discussed by analysts is having a caretaker government that handles the day-to-day business of running the country until there is a political breakthrough, as has happened in Belgium. But this, too, would be a departure from French tradition.

How the French Election Results Unfolded (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Sen. Ignacio Ratke

Last Updated:

Views: 5948

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (56 voted)

Reviews: 95% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Sen. Ignacio Ratke

Birthday: 1999-05-27

Address: Apt. 171 8116 Bailey Via, Roberthaven, GA 58289

Phone: +2585395768220

Job: Lead Liaison

Hobby: Lockpicking, LARPing, Lego building, Lapidary, Macrame, Book restoration, Bodybuilding

Introduction: My name is Sen. Ignacio Ratke, I am a adventurous, zealous, outstanding, agreeable, precious, excited, gifted person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.