French far right ahead in first round vote
French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron stand in the voting booth before voting in Le Touquet-Paris-Plage, northern France, June 30, 2024. | AP

France’s far right is in the lead after the first round of parliamentary elections that confirmed their dominance in French politics and brought them to the gates of power.

Supporters of Marine Le Pen’s anti-immigration National Rally (RN) cheered Sunday as she said the president’s “Macronist bloc has been all but wiped out.”

RN was on course to win 33.2% of the vote, with the left-wing New Popular Front alliance in second with 28.1%, and the Macron alliance behind at third with 21%.

Most constituencies will go to run-offs in a week’s time, with many likely to see a second-round choice between Marine Le Pen’s National Rally and the New Popular Front.

President Emmanuel Macron’s surprise announcement of early elections a few weeks ago, after the RN dominated European Union elections in France, was widely interpreted as a bid to force the left to back him to beat the far right. However, it was the New Popular Front, not his own Renaissance alliance, that has polled second after National Rally in most surveys since its formation.

The New Popular Front is an agreement between the Socialist Party, Communist Party, Greens, and Jean-Luc Melenchon’s France Unbowed.

On polling day, it stressed its platform of radical opposition to the status quo, encouraging citizens angry at falling living standards to choose social justice rather than the anti-immigrant hysteria of National Rally.

In the first 100 days of a New Popular Front government, it pledged to reverse the recent raising of the retirement age from 62 to 64 and commit to bringing it down to 60 in time.

It would cap gas prices and bring in price controls for food, both limiting what supermarkets can charge customers while imposing a price floor to protect producers, standard policy in many developing countries including India and China but viewed as anathema by governments in the “free market” West.

France Unbowed MP Manon Aubry stressed that a Popular Front administration would raise wages by curbing profits: “Shareholder income increased 85% under Macron,” she told Communist daily newspaper l’Humanite, “at the same time, real wages fell by 5%. It’s time to prioritize low wages.” Proposals include an immediate hike of the minimum wage to €2,000($2,150 USD) a month and indexing salaries to inflation.

France would also withdraw from environmentally damaging treaties such as the Canada-Europe Free Trade Agreement and introduce a wealth tax on billionaires, the Popular Front promised, calling for mass mobilization by unions and activists to deliver a left government and force through its agenda in the teeth of corporate resistance.

We hope you appreciated this article. At People’s World, we believe news and information should be free and accessible to all, but we need your help. Our journalism is free of corporate influence and paywalls because we are totally reader-supported. Only you, our readers and supporters, make this possible. If you enjoy reading People’s World and the stories we bring you, please support our work by donating or becoming a monthly sustainer today. Thank you!


Morning Star
Morning Star

Morning Star is the socialist daily newspaper published in Great Britain. Morning Star es el diario socialista publicado en Gran Bretaña.