World in View: Defeat of French Far-Right Is Incomplete

July 10, 2024

by Eugene Walker

[It was a] collective effort of people from civil society who managed to make sure to put the far right away from power. The threat was very concrete and many people realized how dangerous for France was the fact that the far right could be in position of power, not only for people who are minorities, immigrants, women, LGBTQIA, but also for the institutions, since the far-right program intends to challenge the Constitution and to lower the power of the Supreme Courts.
–Rokhaya Diallo, French journalist


French Parliament after the 2024 elections. Red: New Popular Front (180 seats); Yellow: Ensemble pour la République (159 seats); Blue: National Rally and allies (142 seats). Photo: A Socialist Trans Girl, CC0 1.0

After the French Far-Right National Rally party—formerly National Front, founded by people who were Nazis and Holocaust deniers—won the majority of French seats to the European Union parliamentary elections in June, French President Emmanuel Macron recklessly decided to dissolve the French parliament and call a snap election, hoping that his center-right coalition would regain the initiative.

The first-round results gave the National Rally—which in the last decades has opened the floodgates of racism, with its anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim rhetoric—a huge leap forward. It threatened to become the ruling majority in the second round of voting a week later.

However, the mass of French voters saved the day with a more than a 60% turnout, the largest in recent times, preventing the far right from winning. Their votes allowed the Left-wing coalition of parties—the New Popular Front—to obtain the largest number of seats in Parliament, though far short of a majority. The National Rally party came in third, behind Macron’s centrist coalition.

It is now an open question how parliament will be governed with no obvious coalition. The New Popular Front has called for a program to raise the minimum wage, to cap the price of essential foods and utilities, and to throw out Macron’s hugely unpopular pension reform, which raised the age of retirement.


However, President Macron will most likely reject a left turn and seek to form a center right coalition, one that would continue his unpopular policies. Those policies will continue to fuel the far-right National Rally, which garnered no less than fourteen million votes, a huge increase from previous elections. They won 37% of the second-round vote, scoring more seats in Parliament than ever before.

The first far-right government since Vichy France collaborated with the Nazis in World War II was avoided. But the National Front has hardly been defeated. Where France is going remains to be seen.

2 thoughts on “World in View: Defeat of French Far-Right Is Incomplete

  1. Macron’s decision was reckless because without 1. The decision of the Left to form a united popular front, and 2. the decision of the majority of French voters to reject the fascist hard Right—without those two actions, the National Front would have taken power in the parliament. As it is, they won 37% of the second-round vote, scoring more seats in Parliament than ever before.

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