Three Key Reasons Why Marine Le Pen’s Rightwing Party Lost In France

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Marine Le Pen’s rightwing National Rally swept France in the EU election. In the first round of French polls, it came first. Then, why did Le Pen’s National Rally come a disastrous third, behind the ultra-Left coalition and President Macron’s centrist bloc?

A month ago, as the results of the 2024 European Parliament elections started pouring in, Marine Le Pen’s nationalist party, National Rally, was seen sweeping the polls with 31% of the votes. In contrast, the coalition of parties led by French President Emmanuel Macron was trounced, receiving less than 15% vote share.

It was then, many argued that the moment had finally arrived for Marine Le Pen, an aspirant for the French presidency in the last three contests in 2012, 2017, and 2022.

Later in June, following President Macron’s gamble of calling a snap parliamentary election, a rising National Rally was still seen to be leading ahead of other parties and alliances in France.

Probably for the first time in recent past, the National Rally, a nationalist party that began as a far-right outfit, led the polls in France, nearly doubling its support, leaving President Macron reeling. The National Rally got more than 33% of the votes cast, according to the French Interior Ministry.

However, after the second and final round of the election on July 7, the results did not go Marine Le Pen’s and her National Rally’s way. The bottle of champagne, resting gleefully on ice in the National Rally office, was popped, but not with the cheer that was expected.

One would wonder how the party, after back-to-back stellar performances, and assertions of victory from Marine Le Pen and her protégé Jordan Bardella, faced the setback, leaving their dream in fragments. Several factors contributed to the unexpected poll outcome for the resurgent National Rally.

One key reason for the National Rally’s defeat could be attributed to the strategic manoeuvring of centrist and leftist opponents, “who pulled out more than 200 candidates from three-way races to avoid splitting the anti-RN vote”, according to a Reuters report.

The National Rally’s young president, Jordan Bardella, voiced his discontent with the outcome, accusing President Macron of steering France towards instability and aligning it with the so-called “extreme left”.

Bardella, National Rally’s president, even denounced the “nexus” as an “unnatural alliance” on Sunday as the results started to pour in.

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