Wednesday, February 1

Elections in France | The ultra Marine Le Pen is relegated to the background in the legislative campaign

  • The duel between macronismo and the new coalition of the left eclipses the far-right National Regrouping

  • It aspires to obtain its best result in a parliamentary election, but could be left without its own group in the Assembly

At the end of April, it exceeded 40% of the votes and came second in the presidential elections. She got one of the best results of a game of far right in the recent history of Western Europe. Interestingly, a couple of months later, he finds himself disappeared of the political ring in France. The far-right Marine Le Pen has been relegated to the background in the roller coaster that French politics has become. National Regrouping (RN) paints rather little in the campaign of the Parliamentary election June 12 (first round) and 19 (second round), focused on the duel between the president Emmanuel Macron and the new unitary front of the left led by Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

According to the latest polls, which should be taken with a grain of salt, Le Pen’s party will be the third party with the most votes in the first round with around 19% of the vote. But due to the first and second round electoral system and the fact that only the deputies with the most votes in each of the 577 constituencies are elected, he could obtain between 20 and 40 representatives in the second. In other words, in the best of cases for Le Pen, barely 7% of the seats would fall into the hands of the extreme right. Even some opinion polls predict that RN could stay below 15 deputies, the minimum threshold to form a group of its own in the French Parliament.

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Historically, the legislative elections have been difficult for the extreme right. The double loop system it favors the victory of the lesser evil and, consequently, the defeat of the Lepenist candidate. Only in 1986, when a more representative voting system was experimented with, did the then National Front achieve consistent representation in the Assembly, some 35 seats. In the rest of the legislative elections, he obtained just a handful of deputies. In the last legislature there were only 6 deputies from RN.

Le Pen assumes defeat before the vote

After having obtained 42% of the votes in the second round of the presidential elections and having been the most voted in 150 constituencies, Le Pen was confident at the end of April that this time would be the good one. She aspired to achieve a consistent parliamentary group and establish herself as the main opposition force. But the ultra leader has seen how Mélenchon snatched the media spotlight from her. With the configuration at the beginning of May of an unexpected unitary alliance of the left (formed by the Untamed France, the Socialist Party, the Greens and the Communists), the socio-ecologist leader became Macron’s main rival. And he left the RN leader out of the game.

“There will be a Macron prime minister. It’s logical, dramatic, but it’s like that,” Le Pen said at the end of May in an interview on the radio station France Blue. His statements reflected pure realism, but at the same time he recognized his defeat before the elections, something totally unusual. While Mélenchon goes to the legislative elections with the ambitious goal (and unlikely, but not impossible either) of achieving a left-wing parliamentary majority and imposing a cohabitation government To Macron, Le Pen opted for prudence and attainable goals, such as getting her own group. To the point that so much prudence can demobilize the electorate ultra, in which the modest and working classes are overrepresented, and they easily abstain.

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Threatened by abstention

“Our main risk is abstention,” recognized Gilles Pennelle, national delegate for mobilization of the RN, in statements to Le Monde. Faced with an ultra-right that has practically disappeared, and with a limited capacity to introduce its preferred issues into public debate —quite the opposite of what has happened in other recent campaigns—, the Lepenista party has tried to use the Champions League final fiasco.

According to the MEP jordan bardella, number two of RN, the chaos “was not due to a problem” with false tickets and poor organization of access, but to “hordes” of “rabble” who went to the Stade de France “to rob and cause damage “. “All of that was hidden,” said Bardella, who has run this campaign as the Le Pen’s likely successor. She will surely achieve her re-election as a deputy in the north of France, but she has already announced that “in principle” she will not run in the next presidential elections in 2027.

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Despite its reputation for overcoming all electoral frustrations, Le Pen’s party has shown some of its usual flaws in this campaign, such as the lack of local presence and the amateurism of their applicants. To the point that its candidates became the object of ridicule on social networks by repeatedly going blank during the electoral debates.

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In the midst of this gloomy panorama for the extreme right, the RN will probably be able to console itself if it achieves its own group in the Assembly, something vital for the battered coffers of this party. It will also gloat if its main rival in the ultra-nationalist space, the Reconquista del polemicist Eric Zemmour (7% of votes in the presidential elections), get less than 5 deputies or even remain without representation.

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