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International News, Political

Monash expert: French election

Monash University 2 mins read

Marine Le Pen's far-right National Rally party and its allies received 33 per cent of the popular vote in the first round of France's parliamentary elections. With the final round of voting taking place this weekend a Monash expert is available to discuss what the results will mean for France and the rest of Europe. 

 

Associate Professor Ben Wellings, Politics and International Relations

Contact details: +61 421 470 181 or Ben.Wellings@monash.edu

Read more of Associate Professor Wellings’ commentary at Monash Lens

 

The following can be attributed to Associate Professor Ben Wellings:

 

“The second round of elections to the French National Assembly have basically become a referendum on whether or not France wants to be governed by a far-right party.

 

“Emmanuel Macron gambled that calling a snap election would catch Marine Le Pen's Rassmeblement National (National Rally) by surprise, hoping that her radical-right party would not be ready to contest another election. This gamble backfired in the first round of voting. If the far-right Rassmelbment National forms a government, Macron’s gamble will be considered to be a political miscalculation of historic significance.

 

“The tactic may backfire given Macron's waning popularity with the French electorate and the fragmented and divided nature of contemporary French politics. 

 

“Macron is the author of his own misfortune.

 

“The centre of French politics has been weakened by Marcon’s disruption of the party system since his victory in the presidential election in 2017.

 

“In echoes of the 1930s, anti-far right parties have formed a Popular Front in a desperate attempt to forestall a victory for the far-right in a major European country and Europe’s most significant military power.

 

“If Le Pen's Rassmeblement National (National Rally) were to defeat Macron's Renaissance party in the legislative elections, this would constrain French and EU policy towards Ukraine because, like many other leaders of Europe's radical-right, Le Pen is favourably disposed towards Putin's Russia.

 

“Elections to the French legislature - the Assemblée Nationale - are contested over two consecutive Sundays. To be elected in the first round, a prospective deputé needs to obtain over 50 per cent of the vote amongst at least a quarter of eligible voters in their constituency. If no candidate achieves this there is a run-off round of voting involving only those candidates who obtained votes from at least 12.5 per cent of the total electorate. There are 577 deputés sitting in single member seats, so 289 seats are required to form a majority government.”

 

For more Monash media stories visit our news and events site: monash.edu/news

For any other topics on which you may be seeking expert comment, contact the Monash University Media Unit on +61 3 9903 4840 or media@monash.edu 

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