French election leaves far-right National Rally down but not out

France's snap elections didn't result in the thundering parliamentary majority the National Rally wanted. But while tactical voting by the left and centre kept the far-right party out of power yet again, analysts say its gains should not be underestimated.

For a party that came top of the first round of voting, third place can only be a disappointment.

The National Rally (RN) took an early lead in snap parliamentary polls, as it had in EU elections three weeks earlier.

Then its opponents mustered their supporters to vote for anyone but the RN in the second-round runoff, denying the party a chance to dominate parliament in a result widely hailed as a triumph for France's so-called "Republican front".

French left-wing alliance wins big in unexpected snap election result

But it all depends how you look at it, says Félicien Faury, a sociologist and political scientist who specialises in the French far right.

"On the one hand, the Republican front, the blocking vote, worked very effectively. On the other, the National Rally got more than 140 seats, which is truly historic for the party – it has never before reached that level," he points out.

That's compared to the 89 deputies the RN had in the outgoing parliament – which was already a record tally.

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