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

The vote could mark a shift in the French political landscape - or lead to more stagnation

The French parliament, which will hold elections on June 30 and July 7
President Macron called the vote an “act of trust in the people of France and in democracy”
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France will hold a snap parliamentary election in two rounds on June 30 and July 7, we review the background to the elections and the main participants.

Read more: Protests by 250,000 against French far-right criticised by RN voters

What is this French election for?

This election is for France's lower chamber of parliament, the Assemblée nationale. 

The French parliament votes on laws and acts as a counterweight to the government, which is appointed by the President of the Republic, in the form of ministers.

Frequently, the president appoints an MP as prime minister. While this is not mandatory under France’s constitution, selecting a prime minister with support in parliament helps smooth the legislative process for bills to become law.

There are 577 MPs in the French parliament divided between a dozen political parties. In recent years no single party has had an outright majority, meaning that President Macron’s government has relied on fragile alliances and compromises to pass laws.

Until the parliament was dissolved on June 9, President Macron’s support largely came from an alliance of three political parties: the Renaissance group (171 seats), the Democratic Movement (51 seats) and the Horizons party (27 seats).

Why did President Macron call an election?

The victory of the far-right Rassemblement National (RN) in the European Parliamentary elections on June 9 was overwhelming in every region of France.

That evening, President Macron gave a televised address announcing that he could not ignore the result and declared the dissolution of parliament.

The decision to put the country to vote was, he said, an “act of trust in the people of France and in democracy”.

However, for seasoned observers, it appeared more like a political gamble.

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

Fear of the RN has traditionally galvanised French national politics: Mr Macron himself won the presidency twice against Marine Le Pen (in 2017 and 2022) despite his government’s relatively low popular support. 

Read more: Who are the gilets jaunes today? 

It is also likely that Mr Macron hopes the vote will catch the RN unprepared. Unlike the traditional parties, the RN does not have hundreds of candidates with parliamentary experience.

Indeed, the only previous political job experience that the 28-year-old RN president has is from sitting on the Île-de-France regional council.

What happens if the RN wins?

If the RN wins a majority in the election then it could demand that President Macron appoint a RN prime minister. It is thought this would be Jordan Bardella.

If Mr Macron declined, the RN would be in a position to block any legislation going through parliament.

This stagnation would have a catastrophic knock on effect on France’s economy, as the country attempts to reform its economic model and reduce its deficit.

Read more: Snap French election: What will far-right want if it gains more power?

Who can vote?

Only French citizens over the age of 18 and on the electoral roll can vote in this election.

Foreign citizens, including other EU citizens cannot vote.

What are the main parties and what do they propose?

Nouveau Front Populaire

This alliance of left-wing parties formed in response to the victory of the far-right in the European parliamentary elections.

It includes La France Insoumise, the Socialist Party, the Greens, the Communist Party, Place publique, the anticapitalist movement. 

Read more: French politics: François Hollande returns as candidate in snap election

These parties have all agreed not to oppose each other’s candidates.

The alliance wants to:

  • Increase the minimum wage by up to 30%

  • Reinstate the retirement age of 60 

  • Reinstate the ISF wealth tax

  • Limit class sizes in schools to 19

  • Ensure doctors set up more practices in ‘medical deserts’

  • Ensure France is carbon neutral by 2050


Ensemble is President Macron’s centrist alliance, which includes Renaissance (previously République en marche), the MoDem party, Horizons, UDI and the Parti radical.

President Macron’s alliance is proposing to:

  • Increase the ‘Macron’ bonus for companies up to €10,000 a year

  • Reduce electricity bills by 15% in 2025

  • Cut the cost of school supplies by 15 %

  • Extend €1-a-day subsidised health top-ups to 3 million more people

  • Remove notaire fees for first time buyers on properties costing up to €250,000

  • Extend the €100-a-month  'leasing social' electric car program 

Union nationale

This is a right-wing alliance of the far-right Rassemblement National along with rebels from the right- wing Les Républicains party.

The Union nationale is proposing to:

  • End taxation of under-30s

  • Introduce a new law to greatly reduce both illegal and legal immigration

  • Lower VAT on energy, fuel and essential products. For energy and fuel, VAT would go from 20% to 5.5% as early as summer 2024. For essential products, the party has not clarified its plan.

  • Lower the retirement age to 60 for people who started work at 20

  • Cancel the reform to the unemployment agency France travail

  • Prioritise French nationals for social services 

  • Privatise France Télévisions and Radio France

  • Remove several tax loopholes, including for ship-owners

  • Entirely remove the Aide Médicale d'Etat free healthcare for uninsured migrants, and instead only provide emergency healthcare

  • Reintroduce mandatory sentencing for drug offences and offences against public officials

Les Républicains

This is the rump of the traditional right-wing party.

The party is currently reorganising following the split with its former leader Eric Ciotti, who joined an alliance with the RN.


Reconquête is an independent far-right party led by former journalist Eric Zemmour.

It is currently reorganising following the split with its former deputy leader Marion Marechal Le Pen who was expelled after calling for voters to support the RN.