France's far-right National Rally party makes big gains in first round of legislative elections

Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally party made big gains in the first round of legislative elections on Sunday, winning an estimated 34% of votes, nearly double their 18% in the first round in 2022. French President Emmanuel Macron has called on voters to block the far right in the second round of voting on July 7.

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.

The projections indicated that Macron's risky decision to call voters back to the polls for the second time in three weeks appeared to have backfired.

French polling agencies said Macron’s grouping of centrist parties could finish a distant third in the first-round ballot. Those projections put Macron’s camp behind both Marine Le Pen’s National Rally and a new left-wing coalition of parties that joined forces to keep her anti-immigration party with historical links to antisemitism from being able to form the first far-right government in France since World War II.

But with another torrid week of campaigning to come before the decisive final voting next Sunday, the election’s ultimate outcome remained uncertain.

Macron urged voters to rally against the far right in the second round.

Still, the National Rally isn't there yet.

Read more on FRANCE 24 English

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