French election update: political twists, turns and quotes day by day

The parliamentary elections will take place in two rounds on June 30 and July 7

four-way split image of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Eric Zemmour, Gabriel Attal and Jordan Bardella
Clockwise from top-left: Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leading member of the Nouveau Front Populaire; Eric Zemmour, head of Reconquête!, Gabriel Attal, prime minister and candidate with the Renaissance party; Jordan Bardella, head of the Rassemblement National
Published Last updated

France is holding snap parliamentary elections on June 30 and July 7 in the wake of the far-right’s landslide victory in the EU elections. We follow the political twists and turns day by day along with reactions of the party leaders, candidates and other figures.

Elections for the 577 deputés (MPs) in the Assemblée nationale, the lower chamber of the French parliament, were not expected until 2027.

President Macron surprised many by dissolving the Assemblée nationale after the crushing defeat of his party in the European parliamentary elections on June 9.

The major political parties have been making (and breaking) alliances, plans and promises since the announcement as they scramble to prepare for the first round of voting.

Read more: Programmes, dates, risks: a guide to France's snap elections

July 4

Interior Minister urges people not to vote for La France Insoumise 

Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said he was “opposed to voting instructions” in the run up to this Sunday’s second round. 

“Blocking the far-right is a necessity for each and every one of us, but not at the cost of voting for a candidate from La France Insoumise,” he told France 2. 

Politicians from centrist groups have been divided on calls to vote tactically to prevent the far-right Rassemblement National from winning seats. 

Many – including Mr Darmanin – class La France Insoumise, the largest part in the left-wing alliance dubbed the Nouveau Front Populaire, as ‘far-left’ putting them on a level footing with far-right parties and calling them ‘un-republican’. 

Others have urged people to vote for candidates from the left-wing alliance if they are from another party, such as the Greens or Socialists, against a far-right candidate on Sunday. 

Far-right voters 'treated like pariahs' says Le Pen

Marine Le Pen has criticised both centrist and left-wing groups for forming “a single party” intent on blocking the far-right from an absolute victory this Sunday. 

She said the alliance between the groups was proof of a “party of the establishment… that wants to retain power.” 

In addition, she criticised other groups for treating voters of her party as ‘pariahs’, despite receiving the largest vote share in the first round of voting last Sunday (June 30). 

Discussing the recent controversies against numerous candidates from her party, she said that in general politicians from the group “were good people [but of course] there are black sheep everywhere.” 

Government spokesperson attacked whilst campaigning

The government's porte-parole (official spokesperson) was attacked whilst putting up campaign posters yesterday evening.

Prisca Thevenot and fellow campaigners from the centrist group were putting up posters in Meudon (Hauts-de-Seine) at around 20:00 when three young people on scooters allegedly attacked them. 

Miss Thevenot was uninjured, but a fellow campaigner had to be taken to hospital due to injuries sustained. 

Prime minister Gabriel Attal has denounced the attackers – who have not been named – saying: “We can disagree, that's also democracy… [but] democracy cannot be the object of attacks and aggression.”

President of the far-right Rassemblement National Jordan Bardella said the politician “had his full support” following the attacks, and leader of the Communist Party Fabien Roussel said: “Physical and verbal violence has no place in the political debate.”

Candidates to answer voter questions tonight on TV

Leading representatives of the major parties will answer voters’ questions tonight on TV. 

Jordan Bardella (Rassemblement National), Gabriel Attal (Ensemble!) and Raphaël Glucksmann (Parti Socialiste / Place Publique / Nouveau-Front Populaire) will represent each of the three main blocs. 

Clémence Guetté, however, will answer questions for La France Insoumise (despite belonging to the same Nouveau-Front Populaire bloc), as well as David Lisnard of Les Républicains

There will be no debate between each contender, however they will be given genuine questions submitted by the public (personally to each candidate) and a set amount of time to answer them. 

It will broadcast tonight on France2 from 20:40. 

July 3

Marine Le Pen accuses president of 'administrative coup'

Marine Le Pen has accused president Emmanuel Macron of engineering an ‘administrative coup’ before the second round of the legislative elections. 

She commented on claims that the president is set to announce a raft of new appointments across the army, defence, and policing services with positions going to people seen as more moderate.

This included the director general of the national police force, who was set to remain in position until the end of the Olympic Games.

Ms Le Pen said it was a sign that the president was trying to “prevent Jordan Bardella from governing the country as he wishes,” should the Rassemblement National win an absolute majority on Sunday. 

Eric Ciotti, leader of the Les Républicains allied with the far-right party, said it was a sign of “general panic” in the presidential camp. 

The presidential service responded by stating that “Article 13 of our fundamental law states that the Head of State appoints civil and military officials such as prefects at the Conseil des ministres [ministerial meetings] over which he presides."

"Every week for the past 66 years there have been appointments and movements, particularly in the summer, regardless of the political times our institutions are going through, and there are no plans for any of these provisions to change in the coming months.

Macron's father said president spoke of dissolution 'two months ago'

The father of president Emmanuel Macron said his son had discussed dissolving the Assemblée nationale with him “two months before” he announced the new elections in June. 

Although the president’s announcement followed the results of the European elections – which saw Macron’s party lose ground and the far-right as clear victors – Mr Macron senior told local media Est Républicain the move had already been planned.

He said that the president believed “the Assemblée nationale had become ungovernable,” and new elections were required regardless of the outcome of June’s European elections. 

The former professor of neurology said he was “worried” about the potential of a far-right government but that “if the French want that, they'll experience it for themselves. They will see the result.” 

Mirroring the words of his son, he said “It's better for France to experience it for two years than for five.” 

He also said he believed his son would not resign regardless of the results on Sunday, but that “he had not discussed [the situation]” with him. 

Over 200 candidates pull out of Sunday's second round

A total of 214 candidates who made it through to the second round of voting for the legislative elections pulled out of the race before Tuesday’s (July 2) deadline. 

The vast majority of these belonged to either the left wing Nouveau Front Populaire alliance, or centrist groups backing current president Emmanuel Macron. 

The majority of candidates from these parties who finished third – with a candidate from either of the other groups finishing above them – pulled out to allow the non far-right candidate a better chance of winning on Sunday. 

In some cases, politicians from right-wing parties stood aside so as not to block each other, or were forced to pull out after controversies, such as in Calvados, where pictures of a far-right candidate wearing a Nazi officer’s hat were published. 

Read more: Far-right French election candidate withdraws over pic of her in Nazi hat

More than 300 conscriptions were set to see a ‘triangulation’ – with three candidates battling it out for the seat – after the first round of voting last Sunday. Now, only around 100 contests will be three-way battles as opposed to straight duels. 

President of the Rassemblement National Jordan Bardella called the move by opposition groups “an alliance of dishonour”, and questioned the government for working with left-wing groups. 

President Macron however said his MPs would not form a governing coalition with any member of the far-left La France Insoumise

In some cases, Macronist candidates are still competing against both the far-right and a La France Insoumise candidate, as they label both groups as extremist. 

July 2 

Deadline for candidates to drop out is tonight

Candidates who qualified for the second round of the legislative elections but wish to drop out must do so by 18:00 today, or they will remain on Sunday’s ballot. 

In hundreds of departments, three candidates or more made it to the second round after winning enough votes in Sunday’s first round on Sunday (June 30).

As part of a wider ‘Republican Front’ attempting to prevent the far-right Rassemblement National from winning an absolute majority of seats, a fractious alliance is being formed between the presidential camp and left-wing Nouveau Front Populaire bloc. 

It is seeing those who arrived in third place in the first round of voting dropping out of the race to endorse the other candidate who finished second or first, to give them the best chance of beating the far-right on July 7.

A blanket standing-down of third-placed candidates from the Nouveau Front Populaire has been called – regardless of the party the candidate belongs to – with supporters being asked to vote for the candidate from the presidential group in these circonscriptions (constituencies).

However, there has been disagreement between centrist politicians on standing down their own candidates in locations where they have finished third, and a Nouveau Front Populaire candidate is ahead of them.

In circonscriptions where the left-wing blocs candidate belongs to the Socialist Party or Greens, the presidential camp is urging their own third-placed candidates to stand down. 

In constituencies where a second-placed candidate from the bloc belongs to La France Insoumise, however, they are telling candidates to continue running, as the group is ‘far-left’ and according to them, do not represent republican values and thus should not be admitted to this alliance.

Leading La France Insoumise politician Manuel Bompard said the president’s group were “putting [next] Sunday’s results in jeopardy” by not pulling out third-placed candidates in favour of La France Insoumise politicians, and were risking the far-right winning an absolute majority.

On Monday (July 1), 155 third-placed candidates dropped out – 104 of these came from the Nouveau Front Populaire, and 48 from centrist groups backing the president, with the remainder from other, smaller parties.

Union leaders say far-right victory would be threat to French unions

The leader of France’s largest trade union said the possibility of a far-right government was an existential threat to unions in France.

“The very existence of trade union organisations will be at stake,” said general secretary of the CFDT Marylise Léon this morning to FranceInfo.

“My role is to do everything I can to ensure that the Rassemblement National does not come to power… doing nothing is letting things happen, and today it's important to be able to take action too,” she added.

She also said it was “incompatible” to be both a member of the CFDT and to vote for the far-right. 

In addition, Miss Léon and her counterpart at the CGT Sophie Binet called out employer’s organisations for not doing more to rally against the far-right. 

“I find it extremely worrying that today, employers' organisations are only taking a stance on economic issues, when companies are supposed to be the actors of social democracy, a stakeholder in democracy as such,” said Miss Léon in an interview with newspaper Les Echos on Monday (July 1).

They also said the categorisation of La France Insoumise and Rassemblement National as extremist groups – particularly on the economy – was an unfair accusation. 

Le Pen again says far-right will only pick PM in case of absolute majority

Marine Le Pen has reaffirmed that the Rassemblement National will only swear in party leader Jordan Bardella as prime minister if they win an absolute majority in Sunday’s second round. 

Members of the party, including Ms Le Pen and Mr Bardella, have previously said the party would not govern in the case of a relative majority – winning the most seats but falling short of the 289 required to gain a total majority. 

“We can't agree to go into government if we can't act. That would be the worst betrayal of our electorate,” Ms Le Pen told France Inter. 

It is unsure what the party will do in the case of winning a relative majority, where in theory they would have the mandate to rule as a minority government and be able to choose the prime minister.

Some members of the party believe that in this circumstance, the group may form alliances within the National Assembly with other MPs, to prevent a total gridlock. 

This however, will depend on the result of Sunday’s results.

If the far-right group cannot form a majority government, it is extremely unlikely that another group will be able to, or that the left-wing Nouveau Front Populaire and centrist groups would form a government together. 

RN candidate says party is not racists as she has 'Jewish ophthalmologist and Muslim dentist'

A Rassemblement National candidate is under fire for controversial comments made about racism within the party, saying she could not be racist because she had a Muslim dentist.

Paule Veyre de Soras, running in the first circonscription in Mayenne, was interviewed by local media as part of election coverage, as were other major candidates for the seat. 

Following a brief introduction of herself, the interviewer from LeGlob-Journal asked about the perceived racism within the far-right party. 

Miss Veyre de Soras responded that the claims “were totally false,” and that “[the party] has members who are Muslim, Jewish, and Spanish,” before citing her own Catalonian heritage. 

She followed these remarks with a further explanation. 

“My ophthalmologist is a Jew and my dentist is a Muslim,” she said. 

Politicians from across the spectrum were quick to comment on the video, which has been viewed more than 50,000 times on YouTube. You can watch it below.

 

The politician received 28.6% of the vote in the first round of the legislative elections on Sunday, coming in second place behind Guillaume Garot of the Nouveau Front Populaire in the constituency. 

Third-placed candidate Vincent Saulnier, campaigning for the centrist group, has pulled out of the race to give Mr Garot a better chance of winning. 

June 30 - First round of voting

The first round of voting saw 66.71% of registered voters go to the polls, making it the highest voter turnout in over 25 years.

Voting closed at 20:00 and early analysis projected a clear lead for the Rassemblement National (RN).

Read more: Election first round: see how people voted in your area of France

It was confirmed that the RN and its allies won 33.15% of votes. 

Moreover, 37 RN candidates, including Marine Le Pen, received more than 50% of the votes in their constituency, which means that they are directly elected and will not need a second round. 

The candidates supported by the Nouveau Front Populaire, the alliance of parties on the left, received 27.99% of votes, including 32 candidates who won a majority in the first round.

President Macron’s party, Ensemble ! and its allies, Horizons, fared poorly, with a total 21% of votes and two candidates with a majority in the first round.

Read more: GRAPH: see exit poll results by party for French election June 30

The complete first round results:

PartyVotes% of electorate% of votersSeats won outright
Rassemblement National9,377,18219.0129.2537
Nouveau Front Populaire8,974,54618.1927.9932
Ensemble !6,425,56813.0220,042
Les Républicains2,104,9814.276.571
Union de l'extrême droite1,251,2042.543.901
Divers droite1,172,5412.383.662
Divers gauche491,0691.001.530
Divers centre391,4180.791.220
Extrême gauche367,1650.741.150
Régionaliste335,8240.681.050
Reconquête !239,9840.490.750
Horizons231,6640.470.720
Ecologistes181,9890.370.570
Union des Démocrates et Indépendants163,0720.330.510
Other142,8900.290.450
Droite souverainiste90,0900.180.280
Extrême droite59,6790.120.191
Parti socialiste29,2420.060.090
Parti radical de gauche12,4340.030.040
La France insoumise12,2230.020.040
Parti communiste français3,1260.010.010
Les Ecologistes2,6680.010.010

Interior Ministry / The Connexion

June 28

Far-right MP says dual nationals should not be allowed in parliament

A sitting MP for the far-right Rassemblement National (RN) party has stirred controversy by stating that dual nationals should be banned from holding ministerial positions, as it “posed a problem of dual loyalty.” 

MP for Loir-et-Cher, Roger Chudeau, RN, made the comments to BFMTV during an interview, in light of the RN’s policy to ban dual nationals from certain public sector jobs.

He gave the example of Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, who holds both French and Moroccan citizenship, and was Education Minister between 2014 and 2017. 

“[Ms Vallaud-Belkacem], a Franco-Moroccan, what has she done? She destroyed public secondary schools,” he said, before adding that she “wanted to introduce Arabic lessons” at primary schools. 

Mr Vallaud-Belkacem wanted to introduce a foreign language class for children, not specifically Arabic. 

Party talisman and former leader Marine Le Pen distanced herself from Mr Chudeau’s comments, saying she was “flabbergasted” by them. 

Ms Le Pen reaffirmed the party’s position on dual-nationals, and said it is no longer party policy to end the ability for French citizens to have a second nationality. 

She did not say whether the MP would be penalised by the party, saying it was up to current president Jordan Bardella, however, she added that she “does not think Mr Bardella will leave things as they are,” with Mr Chudeau. 

Left-wing party accuses PM of 'spreading false information

La France Insoumise, the leading bloc in the left-wing Nouveau Front Populaire has accused the prime minister of spreading ‘false information’ about the party’s manifesto. 

Mr Attal, who has been prime minister since January 2024, announced an online economic simulator being launched by the presidential camp in the run up to the first round of voting this Sunday.

The simulator shows the potential (negative) economic outcomes that the PM claims will come to pass, if the left-wing bloc wins an absolute majority and fulfils its economic programme.

The comments were made during a debate on Thursday (June 27) between Mr Attal, RN president Jordan Bardella and leader of the Socialist Party (which is also in the left-wing bloc) Olivier Faure.

La France Insoumise has hit back, however, saying “this simulator is misleading: it is based on calculation methods that do not appear in the programme of the group and gives completely incoherent results that could mislead voters.” 

“At this stage of the election, such comments are completely unacceptable,” it added in a press release

It is unknown whether the party will attempt to take legal action over the matter. 

Interior Minister warns of 'civil unrest' following elections

Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin has said he is concerned over an increased chance of violence following the upcoming elections. 

“I think that from September-October onwards, we will experience extremely serious unrest,” he said on public service broadcaster FranceInfo this morning. 

He predicted that the unrest could last until the end of the year, increasing in intensity if the far-left or far-right parties gained an absolute majority in the National Assembly.

He added that there may be “some unrest” over the coming few weeks – directly caused by the election results – but that the main period of unrest would come in autumn, when “a new social season” begins. 

The Minister sent a circular to security officials this week, warning them of an increased risk of civil unrest during the next few weeks. 

It also covered the rules on how parties could campaign outside of voting centres, and what would constitute public order infractions by political campaigners during the two rounds of voting. 

June 27

Polls put RN far ahead

The RN is the leading party for the upcoming legislative elections according to the most recent poll* by public service broadcaster FranceInfo.

The far-right party – and its allies from the Les Républicains group – are at 36%, compared to the next highest, the Nouveau Front Populaire, at 29%.

President Macron’s Renaissance party is a distant third at 19.5%

Even without the support of the traditional conservative right-wing Les Républicains party, the RN are leading the poll at 32%.

The new poll places support for the RN at 0.5% higher than in FranceInfo’s previous poll on Saturday (June 22), in which it was also the leading party.

When questioned, 60% of voters believe the RN will be the largest party in the Assemblée nationale after July 7, but only one-fifth think they will gain an absolute majority of seats in the chamber.

The poll also asked people which word they would use to describe President Macon’s dissolution of the National Assembly. The most common word – for 26% of respondents – was ‘incomprehension’.

The next highest words were ‘hope’ (24%), fear (21%), and indifference (10%).

*Ipsos online poll published on June 26 commissioned by Radio France, France TV, Le Monde, Sciences Po Cevipof, l'Institut Montaigne and la Fondation Jean-Jaurès of 11 820 voters performed between June 21 and 24.

Finance minister says both left and right ‘as harmful as each other’ for economy 

Current finance minister Bruno Le Maire hit out at both the left and right alliances, saying they will be “as harmful as each other” for the French economy if they get into power. 

He said that “seven years of work on the economy [under President Macron] would be destroyed in seven days,” if either the RN or Nouveau Front Populaire gain power. 

“What the programmes of the two extremes have in common is that they work less to earn more, that they renounce work and the power of work, and that they destroy the nation of production that we were in the process of recreating with our parliamentary majority,” he told BFMTV.

The minister said he was not calling the parties equal in other matters, but “that in the functions that are mine: the economic and financial voice for your purchasing power that they propose to you is an immense illusion that will disappoint you.” 

Ministers are appointed by the President of the Republic, however, Mr Le Maire held a seat for Eure's first constituency until 2017. He is not standing for re-election.

Communist party call for ‘Republican Front’ in second round

The French Communist Party has called on its members to vote against anyone who is not part of the far-right in the second round of the election.

“In all duels between a ‘republican’ candidate and a candidate from the far right, we will call for a vote for the former,” it said in a press release.

“If [A Communist Party] candidate finds themselves qualified for the second round in third place [but far behind], he/she will withdraw so that the best-placed Republican candidate has the best chance of beating the far right,” it added. 

The party is nominally part of the left-wing Nouveau Front Populaire alliance, but is the first group within the bloc to announce such a policy. 

In French politics, the ‘Republican Front’ is the idea of voting for any candidate that does not belong to the far-right (most likely the Rassemblement National) to prevent them from winning a seat. 

It came to prominence in 2002, when Jean-Marie Le Pen surprisingly made his way to the second round of the presidential election, finishing with the second-highest vote share. 

All other major parties called on their members to vote for Jacques Chirac, including leftist groups, leading to Mr Chirac winning around 80% of votes. 

Current president Emmanuel Macron also called on the front during the second round of the 2017 and 2022 presidential campaign, when he was up against Mr Le Pen’s daughter, Marine. 

June 26

Leading Les Républicains member quits party

The former vice-president of the right-wing Les Républcains Aurélien Pradié announced his departure from the party this morning, saying the party is ‘dead.’ 

He said that Gaullism – the founding political ethos behind the party – was “more alive than ever [but] the party to which I belonged is dead and is no longer capable of speaking to the French people,” to La Dépêche

The politician – running for re-election as an MP in the Lot – was a vociferous opponent of party president Eric Ciotti’s attempts to forge an electoral alliance between the party and the far-right RN.

He will lead around 30 other candidates previously set to run for Les Républicains – including ten sitting MPs – as part of a micro-party labelled ‘Du courage’, although some of the candidates will officially be labelled as having no political affiliation on voting ballots. 

Mr Pradié was removed from his role as vice-president by Mr Ciotti when he broke party lines and voted in favour of a motion of no-confidence against president Emmanuel Macron during the 2023 pension reform debate.

RN 'would not use' Article 49.3 to pass laws

The RN would not use the controversial article 49.3 to bypass parliament and implement laws, an outgoing MP of the party has confirmed. 

“We will respect Parliament's time… and we will respect parliamentary representation,” said MP Julien Odoul to FranceInfo. 

The 49.3 order allows the government to push through certain legislation without a parliamentary vote on the matter.

Previously used on occasion for financial bills and social security budgets, the measure came to prominence during the 2023 pension reforms. 

It was used by the minority government to push through changes that could not garner enough cross-party support 

However, Mr Odoul said even if the RN only won a relative majority, and not enough seats to control the chamber outright, it would not use the measure to pass legislation.

Read more: What is France’s article 49.3?

Postal workers on strike over election deliveries

Workers at La Poste are on strike over the delivery of election letters and pamphlets, demanding a bonus for the increased workload during the campaign. 

Unions are demanding two bonuses totalling €1,100 for work during the election period, with postal workers saying workloads can triple due to the volume of election manifestoes. 

La Poste has assured voters that election-related material should arrive before both rounds of voting. 

Read more: French postal workers strike over increased election workload

June 25

Massive increase in proxy votes

Over a million proxy votes (procurations) have already been cast for the first round of the legislative elections on Sunday (June 30), the Interior Ministry has announced.

The 1,377,105 votes were issued in a less-than two-week span, between June 10 and June 23.

This is nearly 6 times the total number of proxy votes cast during the 2022 elections in the weeks leading up to the vote.

Fewest candidates in over 30 years

The number of candidates competing in the first round is the lowest in over 35 years. 

There are only 4,010 candidates across the 577 seats up for grabs – more than 2,000 fewer than the 2022 elections, when 6,290 candidates stood, and 4,000 fewer than in 2002 (8,442 candidates). 

The last time there were fewer candidates in a legislative election was in 1988 when 2,843 candidates were on the first round of the ballot. 

The number of candidates will naturally drop for the second round, with only those who gain at least 12.5% of the vote this Sunday progressing. 

The lower number is in part due to the short campaigning period, with candidates having less time to sign-up.

However, it is also due to the number of alliances in this year’s election. 

Parties within the left-wing Nouveau Front Populaire have promised to refrain from competing with one another for seats, significantly reducing the number of candidates from the traditionally fractured left of the political spectrum. 

The alliances mean that in 2024, there are nearly 150 seats where there are only five candidates or fewer in the first round – in 2022, there was only 1 seat where voters had such limited choice. 

First televised debate with three main parties

The first televised debate involving candidates from all three major electoral pacts will air tonight at 21:00 on TF1. 

Jordan Bardella and Gabriel Attal – who have already debated prior to this – will be joined by Manuel Bompard, candidate for the Nouveau Front Populaire and spokesperson for the La France Insoumise group inside the bloc. 

Whilst the latter is not the bloc’s prime ministerial candidate, he has been chosen to debate on its behalf. 

Ciotti announced 'agreement' with RN on pension reform

Leader of right-wing Les Républicains Eric Ciotti announced that he has come to an agreement with the RN over reforms in the retirement ages for ‘early workers’, although the parties still disagree on points over further pension reforms. 

Mr Ciotti said a deal had been reached that would “ensure that those who started working very young, before the age of 20, and who have 40 years of pensionable service, can retire at 60.” 

MPs from the party could help push the RN gain an absolute majority in the Assemblée nationale if they are willing to vote in line with the far right. 

Mr Ciotti claims an alliance between the two parties is in place, but not all Les Républicains candidates agree. 

June 24

Macron pens letter to French over election decision

French president Emmanuel Macron published an open letter to French people on Sunday (June 23), explaining his reasons for calling a snap election and imploring people to vote for his party. 

In the letter – published in a number of newspapers – the president states he “heard people wanted things to change” in the wake of the European elections earlier in the month, where the RN won a resounding victory.

He said the country had a “democratic malaise” and “the way [France is governed] must be profoundly changed.” 

He followed on by reinforcing a number of his party’s policy points – a focus on social justice, fighting discrimination, and improving children’s welfare. 

In addition, the president promised a government that would “bring together republicans of different persuasions who have shown courage in opposing the extremes [of both left and right].” 

Yaël Braun-Pivet, head of the National Assembly before it was dissolved, said this republican coalition was “not an option… but an obligation, to preserve the France we love.” 

Macron’s coalition is trailing in third place, behind the New Popular Front and RN parties, according to a number of polls.

Debate continues over left-wing PM candidate

The Nouveau Front Populaire is still to officially declare a prime ministerial candidate, as various factions of the party take aim at each other over the prized position. 

Jean-Luc-Mélenchon, leader of La France Insoumise – the party’s largest political bloc – said he was “obviously” one of the main candidates during an interview on French TV on Saturday (June 22). 

In response, former president François Hollande – who is a candidate for the left-wing alliance in Corrèze – said Mr Mélenchon “needs to step aside and keep his mouth shut” about becoming prime minister in the event of the group’s victory. 

This morning, Fabien Roussel, leader of the French Communist Party (also in the alliance) confirmed that Mr Mélénchon was not the group’s candidate. 

“No. I'm saying it clearly and I'm saying it to Jean-Luc Mélenchon: nobody can proclaim themselves prime minister,” he said to France Bleu. 

If the party wins a majority, “the decision to choose a prime minister when the time comes will be made with the MPs elected by the Nouveau Front Populaire,” Mr Roussel added.

Mr Mélenchon is a divisive figure amongst the left, known for his abrasive politics. 

Manuel Bompard of La France Insoumise will represent the coalition during televised debates against Mr Attal (current PM) and Jordan Bardella, leader of the RN.

Charities warn of precariousness in event of RN victory

The head of the Abbé Pierre foundation has said an RN victory would be ‘dangerous’ for numerous charities and social support networks in the country. 

Manuel Domergues, who heads the well-known charity, said the RN “has always attacked foreigners, immigrants and other minorities of all kinds.” 

In the event of RN having an absolute majority, a “reduction of rights,” for these minorities could follow, and “it will have a direct impact on poverty and social violence, and therefore on the associations that come to the aid of the victims,” he said to Huffington Post.

In particular, the expansion of ‘national priority’ – the RN’s flagship policy that would see French citizens receive preference for housing, benefits, and employment – may legally trickle down to associations that work in these areas. 

“We run boarding houses, which are places where people who have lived on the streets in the past are welcomed. If we were to exclude foreign nationals from them, it would be very disturbing and would raise serious ethical issues,” Mr Domergues added. 

Others fear an RN government would strip certain charities of state funding, effectively preventing them from continuing their work. 

In some of the areas where local councils or mairie’s are headed by the RN, funding for some charities has been cancelled, and barriers put up to stop new charity work beginning, said Vincent de Lahaye, who heads a charity helping those suffering from poverty in Vaucluse. 

"If the government turned far-right, what support would we have left? We have sponsors and volunteers, but how far can the private sector go in the fight against poverty?” he said. 

RN announce main policy points

Leader of the RN Jordan Bardella went into more detail on the party’s election pledges, focusing on immigration as well as a number of other key areas. 

A focus on education (including banning mobile phones in schools), and cutting daily living costs – notably via cutting VAT for energy costs. 

The party also want to enact sweeping changes to taxation, including an end to income tax (outside of social charges) for under-30s. 

Read more: French parliamentary elections: What are the main parties’ policies?

June 21

Former PM says time to move on from Macronism

Former prime minister Édouard Philippe has claimed that Emmanuel Macron had “killed the presidential majority” with his call for snap legislative elections.

“He dissolved it himself… it was not [other people in Macron’s party] who upset him [or caused it to happen],” said Mr Philippe, who served as prime minister under Mr Macron between 2017 and 2020, to TF1 during an interview on Thursday (June 20) evening.

He hinted that a new centrist majority was now needed in the National Assembly, and that the centrists needed to “move on to something else,” past Macronism – the colloquial name for Mr Macron’s policies and tenure.

“It can't be exactly the same as before,” the current mayor of Le Havre added.

Mr Philippe has previously announced that he is “prepared” to run for the presidency in 2027

'I would rather RN in in 2024 than in 2027'

Emmanuel Macron’s decision to call the snap election may have been damage limitation against a complete far-right victory later down the line, according to sources close to the French president quoted in Le Figaro

Read more: Macron: why I called snap French election and won’t resign if we lose

Unnamed sources who attended a behind-doors meeting soon after the president announced the election said he was optimistic about his party’s chances, despite its heavy defeat at the European Elections.

However, the president has also said that he prefers the risk of the RN partially winning now – where they would be forced to be part of a ‘cohabitation’ with him as president – than win both the legislative and presidential elections in 2027.

“If we lose, I'd rather give the keys to Matignon [the primer ministership] to the RN in 2024 than the keys to this house [the Élysée and presidency] to Marine Le Pen in 2027,” he is alleged to have said on June 9. 

It seems the president believes that in the event of an RN majority at the legislative elections, he would be able to limit how much power the group wielded and how many of their policies they could enact.

It would also give RN nearly three years of power, enough time for them to show an apparent inability to govern, leading voters to reject them in 2027’s elections in favour for a more moderate party – or at least this is the theory.

Mr Macron is restrained by term limits, as he has already won two presidential elections and is unable to run to be president again in 2027. 

RN candidate attacked at market

A candidate for the RN was hospitalised on Thursday (June 20) in Saint-Etienne, after being attacked whilst campaigning at a local market.

Hervé Breuil, 68, was injured whilst leafleting at around 11:30. 

A member of his team, who was present, said it was a “coordinated attack” carried out by “four people, dressed in black and wearing masks.” 

They allegedly began threatening the candidate and his entourage, before attacking them and pushing several people to the floor.

The party has temporarily suspended leafleting in the city after the attack, and campaigning by the opposition candidate, the New Popular Front’s Andrée Taurinya, was cancelled in the area. 

She said that “physical violence [had no place] in politics,” and urged people to “never” attack a candidate regardless of their party affiliation. 

No official updates have been given about the state of Mr Breuil, but it is not thought that his condition is not serious. 

New Popular Front defends its €106 billion spending plans

The would-be finance minister of a New Popular Front (left-wing) government has defended its spending plans after debate over the group’s economic programme. 

Valérie Rabault, of the Socialist Party, said the group would spend €106 billion between 2024 and 2027 to enact its reforms if elected.

She said the spending plans were feasible and have been fully-costed by the party.

Left-wing heavyweight Jean-Luc Mélenchon previously said the New Popular Front’s spending plans would cost €200 billion between 2024 and 2030.

Miss Rabault said the two figures could not be compared as they related to different time periods. 

June 20

PM Gabriel Attal details Renaissance programme

Prime Minister Gabriel Attal gave a press conference on June 20 entitled Le jour d'après, or 'the day after', detailing the policy points of his Renaissance party.

The sweeping programme includes the requirement that residency card applicants should speak a higher level of French, however it is not immediately clear whether he was referring to a change that is already expected to come into effect before January 1, 2026.

Read more: What are France’s new language level rules to apply for residency?

  • Help for the cost of living, including a 15% reduction in the price of electricity from 2025, indexing pensions against inflation, an end to notaire fees for first-time buyers and a commitment to not raise taxes.
  • Labour reforms, including a boost to the 'Macron bonus' for companies, lowering the social security charges for workers on minimum wage, a boost to the four-day working week in the private sector.
  • Measures against climate change, including the construction of 14 new nuclear reactors, making 100,000 electric cars available for €100 a month and a 20% reduction in carbon emissions by 2027.
  • A strong foreign policy, including increased defense spending
  • Increased security measures, in particular targeting anti-social behaviour from delinquent youths and the requirement that residency card applicants should speak a higher level of French.

German allies criticise ‘panic election’

President Macron, who is widely seen as an internationalist and europhile, has rattled the German political sphere with his snap election.

Conservative German MP Inge Grässle called the decision “a sort of panic”.

However, it is a different panic that is gripping Germany: “For Germans it is Trump in the United States and Marine Le Pen in France,” political researcher Klaus-Peter Sick told franceinfo.

“They [German politicians] heavily backed Macron,” political scientist Sabine von Oppeln told franceinfo. “He is the one who has been making Europe progress. 

“We absolutely require effective franco-german cooperation to manage the various problems within the EU. Without Germany and France, it just cannot work”

Second TV debate scheduled between Gabriel Attal and Jordan Bardella

Prime Minister Gabriel Attal and Rassemblement Nationale leader Jordan Bardella and La France Insoumise MP Manuel Bompard will spar in a televised debate on June 25. 

This will be the second time that Mr Attal and Mr Bardella have debated within a month.

The debate will be broadcast on TF1 at 21:00 on June 25.

Marion Maréchal alleged to have ‘siphoned' money from Reconquête! 

Marion Maréchal (formerly known as Marion Maréchal-Le Pen) abandoned the far-right Reconquête! party after calling for her supporters to vote for the Rassemblement Nationale in an act of political theatre on June 10.

Leader Eric Zemmour expelled her on June 12. 

However, this was not before she “siphoned money from the accounts” of Reconquête!, according to reports in the Le Canard Enchaîné, based on a leaked email from the party’s treasurer.

In the email, Gilbert Payet, treasurer of Reconquête! reportedly says that up to €500,000 had been siphoned via four companies close to Marion Maréchal.

It is also alleged that she took the digital data of Reconquête! party members when she was expelled. Marion Maréchal is the granddaughter of Rassemblement National founder Jean-Marie Le Pen and the niece of the party’s joint leader Marine Le Pen.

See the parliamentary candidates in your area

The newspaper Le Monde has created an online tool to see the parliamentary candidates in each department. The tool is available here.

There are also official government search tools available, however you need to look at each departmental site to see them, for instance: 

The election will include more than 4,000 candidates in total for the 577 available seats.