Far right wins in first round of French elections

PARIS: France’s far-right National Rally (RN) party has won a resounding victory in the first round of the country’s snap parliamentary elections.

Pollsters IFOP, Ipsos, OpinionWay and Elabe showed Marine Le Pen’s RN winning about 34 percent of the vote. The left-wing New Popular Front (NFP) coalition looked set to seal about 29 percent, and President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist Ensemble alliance about 20.5 percent.

The result puts RN in a position where it may start thinking hopefully about forming a government. However, forces across the rest of the political spectrum have suggested that they will cooperate to block the far-right party in the second round vote on July 7.

Macron stunned the country by calling the snap election after the RN surged in European Parliament elections last month, gambling that the anti-immigration party with historical links to anti-Semitism would not repeat that success at the national level.

Also read: Far right hopes to make history as France votes in high-stakes poll

At party leader Le Pen’s Henin-Beaumont constituency in northern France, supporters waved French flags and sang La Marseillaise, the national anthem.

“The French have shown their willingness to turn the page on a contemptuous and corrosive power,” she told the cheering crowd.

RN President Jordan Bardella, Le Pen’s protege and candidate for prime minister, pointed out that the second round would be “the most important in the history of the French Fifth Republic”.

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