world News : France faces a new political reality as Le Pen's prodigy stands on the brink of power

world News : France faces a new political reality as Le Pen's prodigy stands on the brink of power
world News : France faces a new political reality as Le Pen's prodigy stands on the brink of power

Monday 1 July 2024 04:46 AM

newsonline - A new political reality has been revealed in France, it has a new face and a new name - 28-year-old Jordan Bardella.

Frontman of the hard-right, he has helped propel National Rally to a clear-cut lead in the first round of parliamentary elections.

Bardella, the party's choice for prime minister, stands on the brink of power if National Rally secures a majority in the second round of voting.

"I want to tell our supporters to mobilise so that they carry out a final effort next Sunday - next Sunday's vote will be one of the most important in the history of modern France," he said.

With roots in the collaborationist regime of Vichy France, National Rally has been re-engineered by Marine Le Pen as she has worked to make it electable - and acceptable - to the public.

Image: Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella campaigning for the National Rally in June. Pic: AP

A key part of that scheme rests with Le Pen's fresh-faced prodigy. Bardella told the media that a National Rally government would respect the country's traditional republican values.

"I will always be the guarantor of your rights and freedoms and our republican values which unite us all. I promise you freedom, equality and fraternity," he said.

More on Emmanuel Macron

They were challenged from the left by the New Popular Front, a hastily organised alliance of socialists, communists, greens and hard-left grouping France Unbowed.

Early results suggest they have finished a strong second, around 28% of the vote.

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There is no doubt about losers here. Emmanuel Macron's centrist coalition, Ensemble, performed poorly, gaining just 21% of the vote.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video playerDemonstrators raise their arms as they gather to protest against the French far-right Rassemblement National (National Rally - RN) party, at the Place de la Republique following partial results in the first round of the early 2024 legislative elections, in Paris, France, June 30, 2024. REUTERS/Abdul Saboor 2:51

Extreme right is at 'gates of power'

Now a case of damage control

When he called this snap election, Macron was taking a gamble the drubbing his alliance received in recent European elections would not be repeated. He was wrong.

Macron's prime minister, Gabriel Attal, said it's now a case of damage control: "Our goal is clear, we must stop the right from gaining an absolute majority in the first round."

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Read more
Who are National Rally?
Macron calls snap French election
Profile of National Rally leader Bardella

What happens next? Well, we will see a feverish week of campaigning as those candidates who have entered the final round seek to cement their advantage.

In constituencies where three people advance into the second round, parties will engage in frantic horse-trading to give their candidate the advantage.

People climbed on the statue at Republique plaza during a protest against the far-right National Rally party which came out strongly ahead in first-round legislative elections, Sunday, June 30, 2024 in Paris. France's high-stakes legislative elections propelled the far-right National Rally to a strong but not decisive lead in the first-round vote Sunday, polling agencies projected, dealing another slap to centrist President Emmanuel Macron. (AP Photo/Thomas Padilla)
Image: Protesters against National Rally clamber on to the statue at the Republique Plaza in Paris on Sunday

Protesters and police clash

The country's new political reality is also a moment of instability - both politically and on the streets.

After the results were announced, protesters erected barricades and broke windows in cities around the country.

Police responded with tear gas and baton charges.

The hard-right now have the national assembly within their grasp - but the implications of their success are unpredictable.

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