New Popular Front poised to win second round of elections in France

Polls predict that the left-progressive alliance New Popular Front will secure the most seats after the conclusion of the second round of the general election in France

July 07, 2024 by Ana Vračar
NFP rally after second round of general election, July 7, 2024. Source: Jean-Luc Mélenchon/X

The New Popular Front (NFP) is projected to secure the most seats following the conclusion of the second round of the general election in France on July 7. Exit polls predict the NFP could win around 200 seats in parliament, surpassing Emmanuel Macron’s liberal coalition, expected to take up to 170 seats, and the far-right National Rally, initially projected as the victor, which is polling around 150 seats.

Shortly after the first post-election polls were announced, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of France Unbowed, called on President Macron to invite the NFP to form a government. Although the projected number of seats does not guarantee the alliance an absolute majority, left and progressive candidates emphasized their readiness to implement their program. “The president has the power. The president has the duty to call the NFP to govern,” Mélenchon said after voting stations closed.

“Voters have chosen between two radically opposed projects. The NFP is ready to govern. It is the only well-constructed, coherent, and united alternative option, equipped with an organized and detailed program,” Mélenchon stated.

He stressed that the NFP would implement its entire program without compromising. The left-progressive alliance has announced immediate measures to address the cost of living crisis, including a price freeze and an increase in the minimum income. The coalition’s program aims to break away from the neoliberal policies promoted by Macron and strengthen the public sector for the benefit of everyone.

Read more: No middle ground: New Popular Front to face National Rally in French election

The election results came as a surprise to many, given that Marine Le Pen’s National Rally was polling as the likely winner until the very end. The NFP’s strong campaign to block the far-right from gaining power significantly eroded the National Rally’s numbers. In response, National Rally leaders attempted to portray NFP leaders, especially Mélenchon, as political radicals who would endanger the country’s stability. On election night, National Rally president Jordan Bardella stated: “Tonight, these electoral results throw France into the arms of Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s extreme left.”

Emmanuel Macron has yet to announce his next steps following Sunday’s election results, but some liberal candidates have already accused the left of being pretentious by claiming victory. Gérald Darmanin, home minister in the last administration, said: “Today, nobody can say that he won these legislative elections. And especially not Mr. Mélenchon, who showed a lot of pretension a few moments ago on television.”

The NFP, despite not holding an absolute majority, could be given the mandate to form a government but would likely face challenges in maintaining a stable majority during parliamentary discussions.