France Surges To Right In EU Election
Print Friendly and PDF

Unlike in California, where the computer was uninvented during the Butlerian Jihad (or something) and thus it takes four weeks to count votes, in Europe they expect to have most of today’s European Parliament voting counted by tomorrow. So don’t take Sunday’s results as the final word.

From the Washington Post news section:

Far right gains in European Parliament projections; France’s Macron calls snap elections

The first forecasts showed voters boosting far-right parties that have made populist economic appeals and taken hardline positions on migration.

By Emily Rauhala, Annabelle Timsit, Anthony Faiola and Kate Brady
Updated June 9, 2024 at 4:51 p.m. EDT|Published June 9, 2024 at 2:14 p.m. EDT

BRUSSELS — Early forecasts in the European Parliament elections on Sunday showed voters punishing ruling centrists and throwing unprecedented support behind far-right parties, most notably in France, where disastrous results for French President Emmanuel Macron’s coalition prompted him to dissolve the National Assembly and call snap elections.

Although a combination of centrist, pro-European parties were projected to maintain a majority in the European Parliament, Macron acknowledged that those parties suffered disproportionately. He said legislative elections, with a first round set for June 30, would give French citizens a chance to determine their own country’s parliamentary future. The French presidency won’t be contested in those election, but the vote will inescapably be a referendum on Macron’s government.

The once-every-five-years European Parliament elections are the world’s largest democratic exercise outside India. Citizens of the European Union’s 27 member states cast ballots to determine the 720 representatives that sit in Brussels and Strasbourg. Since the last elections in 2019, once-fringe hard right parties have moved into the political mainstream in Europe, and the results seemed to reflect those shifts.

In Germany, while the center right was leading comfortably, there was boisterous flag waving at Alternative for Germany headquarters after an exit poll determined the far-right party to be the “second strongest force.”

Austria’s far-right Freedom Party also celebrated on Sunday after forecasts showed it placing first for the first time.

Early projections suggested that France’s National Rally, a far-right party guided by Marine Le Pen and her protégé Jordan Bardella, won about 31.5 percent of the vote, more than doubling the showing from Macron’s allies. “The unprecedented gap reflects a scathing disavowal and rejection of the policy led by Emmanuel Macron,” Bardella said.

Dissolving the National Assembly is a way for Macron to show he has heard the criticism. He may be betting that protest votes featured prominently in elections for the relatively weak European Parliament and that people may vote differently when focused on France.

It’s an “extremely risky” strategy, said Michael Duclos, a former French diplomat now at the Institut Montaigne think tank. “There is a strong chance that the National Rally will win … in a landslide and therefore be able to form the next government,” with Bardella [age 28] as the likely prime minister, Duclos said. …

In the past, harder right parties were taking votes away from center-right parties, but these days, they are also making inroads with electorates who once voted more to the left. “The far-right has siphoned off voters, certainly in France, Germany and Italy, and some Scandinavian countries, who would have historically voted for left parties,” said Catherine Fieschi, a political analyst and fellow at the Robert Schuman Center of the European University Institute in Florence. “Part of the story of the right is the failure of the left in some of these countries.”

Making sense of EU elections across 27 countries is difficult, so Americans tend to focus on French results, because French politics has been world famous since 1789.

But in other countries, the Right didn’t do that well. For example, in Denmark, the Left did well, in part because immigration restriction is now endorsed by most of the parties, so voters who have sensible opinions on immigration policy now have a wide variety of parties to choose from.

[Comment at]

Print Friendly and PDF