French elections zero-sum game: Is France headed to a minority government?

French elections zero-sum game: Is France headed to a minority government?

On Sunday, France will vote in the first round of a snap parliamentary election called by President Emmanuel Macron after his camp suffered a vote haemorrhage at the European elections earlier in June.

Following the second round of voting set for 7 July, the French and the rest of the continent will find out the results of one of the most important elections in the last 22 years.

According to an Ipsos poll for France Bleu released this Saturday, the far-right National Rally (RN) and its allies, The Republicans-Ciotti (LR-Ciotti), are leading the way in voting intentions (35.5%).

The leftist-socialist New Popular Front is right behind, at 29.5%, far ahead of Macron’s presidential camp, Ensemble (19.5%).

Elabe poll for BFMTV and La Tribune du Dimanche published on Saturday predicts 36% of voters to back the National Rally, who are expected to get between 250 and 280 seats at the National Assembly together with LR-Ciotti.

The absolute majority in the lower chamber of the French Parliament comes out to 289 seats.

In France, the leader of the political party that wins the legislative elections has the prerogative to become head of the government. He is appointed by the president of the republic and approved by the National Assembly.

Without an absolute majority, Jordan Bardella can strive to become a governing PM only if his majority gets the support of other parties.

Last Friday, the Odoxa poll for Le Nouvel Obs projected that the RN and its allies would receive 33% of the vote, the New Popular Front at 28%, and Macron's Together at 19%.

The Euronews Super Poll — the average of the main forecasts —  predicts RN+LR Ciotti to win 33.6% of the vote, followed by the New Popular Front at 27.9% and Together at 19.%.

Only the parties that reach at least 12.5% of the votes can advance to the second round.

French President Emmanuel Macron
French President Emmanuel Macron - Thibault Camus/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.

Aside from the main contenders, Ciotti's decision to associate his own list with the National Rally has affected the Republicans, as the historical heirs of the mighty French Gaullist, Republican, and Christian-Democrat centre-right seem to be at risk of being excluded from the second round of the legislative elections.

According to the Euronews Poll Centre, LR Ciotti could reach 8.5% of the votes. In that scenario, they won't pass into the second round, but their voters could become the decisive factor in the final result, as could other smaller parties, such as the far-right's R! of Éric Zemmour and other centrist and leftist forces.