Analysis: Macron’s gamble has kept the far right out of power, but plunged France into chaos | CNN (2024)

Analysis: Macron’s gamble has kept the far right out of power, but plunged France into chaos | CNN (1)

A person waves a French flag during a rally at Place de la République.

CNN

“I threw my live grenade at their feet” is how French President Emmanuel Macron reportedly saw his call for snap elections after a stinging far-right victory in June’s European elections.

It was an explosive gamble and thefinalresults took the country by surprise:France’s left-wing alliance coming in first with 182 seats and the far-right trailing in third place - a shocking reversal of last Sunday’s first-round results.

On Place de la Republique in Paris news of the projected results was met with rapturous applause and fireworks as people embraced one another, breathing a collective sigh of relief:in their eyes,France had been pulled back from the brink.

Turnout on Sunday was the highest in a parliamentary election for more than 20 years as French citizens took to the ballot box to make their feelings known: they did not want the far-right to govern.

However, with the left falling short of the 289 seats needed for a majority and with a weakenedpresident, the national assembly is expected to be more fractured than ever.

What’s certain is that France is set to enter a prolonged period of instability as three opposing blocs with competing ideas and agendas try to form coalition or find themselves stuck in a state of paralysis.

Visibly disappointed, the far-right National Rally (RN) leader Jordan Bardella argued thathisparty’s defeat was only made possible by the tactical voting orchestrated byMacron and theleft-wingNFPcoalition thatdecided to withdraw 200 candidates from the race this week in an effort to block the far right.

Though the RN didn’t do as well as expected, it is still a victory for French far-right doyenne Marine Le Pen with her partygetting more votes with each passing election. 8 in 2017, 89 in 2022, 143 in 2024 – the latter with the help of allies.

For the left-wingNFP alliance,it isgoing to have a tough time speaking with one voice. The last timeit formed a bloc under the name of Nupes, in 2022,itfell apartbecause of personal differences as well as policy.

The bloc brings together five different parties. Far-left France Unbowed and theCommunist partyhasjoined with the center-left parties, the socialists and the greens to formaNew Popular Front. Nowthe challengeis no longer whetherthe leftcan unite against the far right, but rather canthe different groupswork together to agree first on who might be prime minister from their camp – and then on the policies they might pursue?

How instability might impact internationally

With such a divided parliament there is no hope for major structural reforms at a domestic level, the bestthe leftists can hope for aread hoc alliances to vote through individual pieces of legislation.

A participant waves a French national tricolor during an election night rally following the first results of the second round of France's legislative election at Place de la Republique in Paris on July 7, 2024. A loose alliance of French left-wing parties thrown together for snap elections was on course to become the biggest parliamentary bloc and beat the far right, according to shock projected results. (Photo by Emmanuel Dunand / AFP) (Photo by EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP via Getty Images) Emmanuel DunandAFP/Getty Images Related article Leftist surge foils far right but French election ends in deadlock

It’s equally hard to imagine how the current constellation would allow France to play an important role regarding Ukraine.Macron in the past has vowed to continue supporting Ukraine militarily whileLe Pen has said herparty would prevent Kyiv using French-supplied long-range weapons to strike inside Russiaand would oppose sending French troops.

The left has remained relatively quiet on Ukraine - different parties from the coalition have slightly different stances - France Unbowed is against whatitcalls“escalation”with Russia.

Macron’s central bloc seems to have held up quite well,winning 163 seats. Even though it lost roughly100MPs, it’s a much better result than what the polls were suggesting, although we will see a shift in power from the Elysée to the National Assembly.

Macron’s gamble may have prevented the far right from coming to power, but it couldyetplunge the country into chaos. And with no parliamentary electionsscheduledfor another year, France is in foranuncertain time with the eyes of the world firmly on Paris as it prepares to welcome the Olympics in three weeks’ time.

Analysis: Macron’s gamble has kept the far right out of power, but plunged France into chaos | CNN (2024)

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