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French Snap Elections – 1st Round Results and 2nd Round Perspectives

Yesterday, June 30th, the 1st round of the French legislative elections took place, following the unexpected dissolution of the National Assembly (lower house of Parliament) by President Emmanuel Macron on the evening of the EU elections.

 

1st Round Results

Four main blocs were facing off today. First polls indicate the following results:

  • 33,15% for the far-right National Rally (Rassemblement National – RN) and its allies;
  • 27,99% for the left alliance composed of center-left, the far left and left-wing populist parties (the New Popular Front or Nouveau Front Populaire – NFP);
  • 20,04% for the Presidential majority parties (Renaissance, Modem, Horizons and allies);
  • 10% for the traditional right The Republicans (Les Républicains – LR) and its allies;
  • 8,8% other political forces.

 

What Does it Mean for the 2nd Round ?

Of note, under the French two-round uninominal ballot, only candidates who have obtained more than 12.5% of the votes of registered voters in their constituency (as opposed to the votes cast) can move on to the 2nd round. The 2nd round will take place next Sunday, July 7th.

Given the high turnout (66,71%), the probability of “three-way” races in constituencies has therefore drastically increased, and could be touching on 285 to 315 out of the 577 constituencies.

Political negotiations on a reciprocal withdrawal agreement are now expected to take place, i.e. candidates who come in third in a given constituency and qualify for the 2nd round withdraw in order to avoid the dispersal of votes.

  • The left wing parties’ (NFP) leaders already announced and reiterated this evening that they will desist in favor of the best-placed candidate to block the far-right RN when in position to win;
  • According to the first declarations of the Presidential majority‘s political leaders, the withdrawal agreements could be found to block the RN with other candidates, but the voting instructions differ with regard to the candidates of the far-left LFI party within the NFP alliance:
    • This is what French President Emmanuel Macron has also implied, by calling for forming a “clearly democratic and republican broad coalition” for the second round.
  • Regarding the traditional right, no voting instructions have been provided.

 

That said, the standing scenarios following the 2nd round are (in order of probability):

  • An absolute majority in the National Assembly for the RN and a period of cohabitation:
    • Marine Le Pen has stated that in this scenario the government would be made up of a minority of RN members and a majority of figures coming  from civil society or other political parties.
  • No majority and absence of a government power-sharing agreement:
    • Start of a period of instability, with several possible scenarios, lasting at least a year, which is when the President will once again be able to call snap elections.

 

Timeline:

  • June 30th – July 2nd at 6 pm: filing of declarations of candidacies for the 2nd round;
  • July 7th: 2nd round;
  • July 18th – August 1st: extraordinary session of Parliament:
    • July 18th: election of the President of the National Assembly ;
    • July 19th: publication of the composition of political groups; setting up of the bureau of the National Assembly;
    • July 20th: publication of the composition of standing committees and election of their bureaus.
    • Second week: appointment of key positions.
  • September: possible extraordinary session of Parliament
  • October 1st: start of the ordinary session of Parliament.

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