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behind the Nupes-Ensemble duel, a historic breakthrough for the National Rally

Marine Le Pen’s National Rally won 18.68% of the vote on Sunday in the first round of legislative elections, winning more than a million additional votes compared to 2017. A historic breakthrough that gives it a glimpse of a record number elected to the National Assembly.

Legislative 2022 © FMM Graphic Studio

“We are here, we are there, we have been in strong momentum since 2017.” Marine Le Pen had a smile on Monday, June 13, the day after the first round of the legislative elections, during her trip to Rouvroy, in her stronghold of Pas-de-Calais.

By obtaining 18.68% of the vote on Sunday evening, his party can hope for the election of “dozens of deputies” in the National Assembly. But above all, the National Rally has progressed in five years by obtaining 1,258,172 more votes compared to the first round of the 2017 legislative elections, an increase of 5.48 points.

“We are the only ones to be in reality in strong momentum since 2017, because between 2017 and today the left and the far left combined are in decline or stagnation, En Marche is in strong decline, LR is in capilotade and the National Rally is on the rise for him”, judged the outgoing MP for Pas-de-Calais, who, with 53.96% of the vote but insufficient participation, narrowly missed his re-election from the first round.

“This is a historic result for the far right as a whole since this instant block more than 5 million votes”, underlines the sociologist Ugo Palheta, lecturer at the University of Lille and author of the book “La Possibility du fascism” (La Découverte, 2018). “Never in the past 40 years has it been present in so many second rounds. The RN can do better than in 1986, when there was proportional representation that year.

Then led by Jean-Marie Le Pen, the National Front had obtained 35 deputies during the legislative elections of 1986 thanks, in particular, to the introduction of departmental proportional representation. Thirty-six years later and without proportional representation, the daughter of the founder of the far-right party could therefore do better. The RN will present, Sunday, June 19, more than 200 candidates in the second round.

Deeper electoral roots

However, the legislative campaign led by Marine Le Pen was not very offensive, even timid. Going on vacation after her defeat in the presidential election against Emmanuel Macron, she offered, for her media return two weeks later, forecasts deemed demotivating. “I think that the logic of the institutions wants the President of the Republic to have a majority. All those who tell others have chosen to tell fables”, she declared on May 10 at 8 p.m. on TF1, targeting Jean-Luc Mélenchon . Then, it was most often content to carry out a minimal field campaign, mainly in its stronghold of Pas-de-Calais.

“To campaign in the legislative elections, you need executives throughout the territory and the RN lacks them. But its good results in the first round have nevertheless demonstrated a completely solid political and electoral anchorage in several territories, with an ability to achieve very high scores, including when its candidates do not hold water”, notes Ugo Palheta, referring to the misadventures of several RN candidates stammering their answers in debates organized by local television channels.

>> To read: Legislative: the return of the left-right divide in the French political landscape?

The RN, 5 qualified candidates out of 6 in the Gard, 5 qualified candidates out of 5 in the Aisne or even 8 qualified candidates out of 9 in the Moselle, with in all of these five departments 26 first places out of 40 possible.

Above all, the extreme right division did not harm Marine Le Pen, who again won her match from a distance with Éric Zemmour, already won by knockout in the first round of the presidential election. None of the candidates presented by Reconquest! did not qualify for the second round of the legislative elections.

>> To read: Legislative: abstention, big winner of the first round

At a press conference in Paris, on Monday, the interim president of the RN, Jordan Bardella, stressed that Reconquest!, which obtained 4.24% of the vote at the national level, had not prevented the RN from qualifying “in winnable constituencies” and called on his voters “to realize that the path we are building (…) will lead us to power”. Marine Le Pen also “wished” that the voters of Éric Zemmour’s party would vote for the RN next Sunday.

Marine Le Pen’s party has also achieved a good financial deal. By collecting 4,248,626 votes on Sunday, he will be able to count on at least 6.9 million euros of public money each year, since each vote won entitles him to 1.64 euros per year. A welcome person for a party in debt over 20 million euros.

Results tarnished by the Nupes dynamic

“However, the results of the National Rally are disappointing compared to what it could envisage two months ago, nuance Ugo Palheta. We are far from the more than 8 million votes obtained in the first round of the presidential election. Marine Le Pen has failed to find the answer to the dynamics of the Nupes and will have to deal in the National Assembly with a very important left bloc which plays a priori the role of first opposition to the government.

The union of the left has also made it possible to block the road to the RN in many constituencies. In the first constituency of Hérault, for example, the candidate of the RN, France Jamet, is eliminated despite a score of 20.58%, when the candidate of Nupes, Julien Colet, comes first with 26.94% of the votes. voice. In 2017, the same Julien Colet, then labeled La France insoumise, finished third behind France Jamet.

Will Marine Le Pen resume her claimed place as the number 1 opponent to Emmanuel Macron? This will depend first of all on the political longevity of Nupes, but also on the strategy of the President of the Republic for his second five-year term. “Emmanuel Macron has favored this one-on-one with the far right since 2017, but he could now target the left,” notes Ugo Palheta.

For her part, the leader of the RN describes the Nupes as “cardboard opposition” and publishes back to back the two coalitions that came out on top on Sunday evening in the first round of the legislative elections. “Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Emmanuel Macron defend an indigenist Republic. In the National Assembly, the RN deputies will defend the Republic, the French Constitution, secularism, the unity of the people in the face of communitarianism”, she tweeted Monday after- noon, thus betting on the fundamental identity of his party to mobilize his electorate for the second round.


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