FRANCE ELECTIONS: MACRON'S CENTRISTS STARE AT ROUT AS LEFTISTS CONVERGE & FAR-RIGHT SURGES

The centrists of French President Emmanuel Macron's Renaissance (RE) party are fearing a rout as leftists have converged under a coalition and the far-right party National Rally (RN) of Marine Le Pen has surged in popularity.

Ahead of the elections, the left-wing parties in France have formed a coalition called New Popular Front (NPF) to take on the far-right.

Following the victory of Le Pen's RN in the European Parliamentary elections, Macron dissolved the French parliament and called snap elections. The move has been described as a gamble as surveys have put RN in the lead and Macron's RE third in the voters' preference.

The French elections will take place in two rounds on June 30 and July 7. As per a survey cited by BBC News, RN is set to get 29.5 per cent votes in the first round of polling on June 30, the NPF 28.5 per cent, and RE 18 per cent.

Why is Macron's RE party trailing?

Macron's centrist party RE has lost left-leaning voters over his tough stand on immigration and proposed pension reforms, according to The Guardian.

Moreover, as the left-wing parties have converged under a new coalition NPF, those dissatisfied with Macron have an alternative to both him and the RN.

The critics of Macron on the right, however, have felt that he has not done enough to curb illegal immigration. This has fuelled their shift to Le Pen's RN that's running on an anti-immigration platform.

As per Politico, the approval rating of Macron is just 34 per cent at the moment. In the recent European Parliamentary elections, the far-right party RN won twice as many seats as Macron's RE. This was seen as a reflection of the domestic political scenario in France.

Even though Macron is not required to resign even if his party loses elections, a survey found that 57 per cent French voters preferred him to resign in such case. As the President of France, Macron's term will continue till 2027 and he will remain in charge of the foreign and defence policies of the country irrespective of the party in power in the parliament. But if any other party takes over parliament, Macron would lose control of the domestic agenda and there will be friction and compromises as he would have to work with a prime minister opposed to him.

Can far-right win French elections?

As a survey cited above showed, the far-right RN party is narrowly ahead of the left-wing coalition NFP as of now.

Even if RN does not win, pollsters agree that the far-right could make massive and historic gains, according to The Guardian.

The newspaper reported that the far-right could go from 88 seats in the 577-member parliament to as high as 200. While that would be short of a majority, it could allow it to strike a deal with smaller parties to be part of a coalition government.

Meanwhile, pollsters agree that Macron's RE is headed to being a distant third in the French elections, as per the paper.

2024-06-15T13:39:52Z dg43tfdfdgfd