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Second round of parliamentary elections takes place in France

A key legislative election with possible ramifications for Ukraine is ongoing in France, with President Emmanuel Macron attempting to stave off Marine Le Pen’s far right, which surged in last week’s first round and the recent European election.
French far-right Rassemblement National (RN) party leader Marine Le Pen (L) and party President Jordan Bardella. Photo via Eastnews.ua.
French far-right Rassemblement National (RN) party leader Marine Le Pen (L) and party President Jordan Bardella. Photo via Eastnews.ua.
Second round of parliamentary elections takes place in France

Voting in the second round of parliamentary elections is currently taking place in France on 7 July 2024. With all eyes on Marine Le Pen, Jordan Bardella, and the far-right ‘Rassemblement National’ (or ‘National Rally’), much is at stake for incumbent President Emmanuel Macron.

As reported by Politico, first estimates are expected at 8 p.m. (CEST) sharp. Official results will be pouring in throughout the night. 

After his snap election gamble spectacularly backfired, the French president faces, at best, a hung parliament with no workable majority where his camp will be relegated to third place behind Marine Le Pen’s National Rally and a left-wing alliance of Socialists, greens and radical leftists.

All eyes will be on the far-right vote. While an unlikely alliance between centrists and the left has cut the chances of the far right gathering enough seats for the majority, that scenario cannot be excluded, potentially leading to France having a far-right government for the first time in the modern republic’s history.

The elections are crucial for multiple reasons. As noted by Politico: ”as elections go, this is as big as it gets.”

”The far right stands a decent chance of being able to form a government in a nuclear-armed permanent member of the UN Security Council that plays a major role in global security from the North Atlantic to the Pacific. That same far right is also skeptical of France’s engagement with both the EU and NATO, while without an engaged France, both are significantly weakened,” the publication states.

Ramifications for Ukraine

The outcome of the elections could have ramifications for Ukraine as well. In a July 5 interview with CNN, Le Pen vowed that a prime minister from her party would prevent Kyiv from using French-supplied long-range weapons to strike inside Russia.

In addition, her party would oppose French President Emmanuel Macron’s suggestion of the possibility of sending French troops to Ukrainian soil.

A potential National Rally victory could be welcomed by Russia, given Le Pen’s past admiration for the Russian leader Vladimir Putin, her refusal to condemn Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, and even taking a loan from a Russian bank.

While the party has timidly vowed to continue aid to Ukraine, its history of cozying up to Putin, vows to dial back France’s military engagement in the Russo-Ukrainian war, and prominent place in disinformation campaigns have Kyiv and the EU worried.

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