Le Pen’s Far Right Keeps Rising Less Than a Week Before Election

(Bloomberg) -- Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally has made further gains ahead of the first round of France’s snap legislative election on Sunday, according to Bloomberg’s poll of polls, as President Emmanuel Macron faces the increasing likelihood of having to share power with an opposition government.

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The party has increased its lead by 0.3 point to 34.2% in Bloomberg’s composite, while a leftist alliance called the New Popular Front, bringing together Socialists, Communists, Greens and the far-left France Unbowed, is second with 28.2%, up 0.1 point. Macron’s Renaissance party and its allies are in third at 20.6%.

Macron dissolved the lower house of parliament earlier this month and called a snap legislative vote after his group was trounced in European Parliament elections. His surprise decision triggered turmoil in markets, with investors now demanding the highest risk premium on its bonds since 2012 amid concerns any winner might swell France’s borrowings.

The disarray also spread to the equities market, with France’s CAC 40 Index falling the most in over two years in the week following Macron’s decision, wiping out $258 billion in market capitalization.

Over the weekend, Macron sought to defend his decision to dissolve the legislature, saying that opposition parties were planning to force out his government later in the year, and that he needed to act to avoid further chaos.

“This dissolution was the only possible choice both to recognize your vote in the European elections, to respond to the disarray already here and the greater disarray to come,” Macron wrote in an editorial published in regional newspapers.

While most pollsters predict that the National Rally will form the largest group in the National Assembly but fall short of the 289 seats needed for an absolute majority, the latest survey by Odoxa predicts the party will get between 250 to 300 seats. France’s two-round voting system makes forecasting tricky, however, given the possibility of runoffs involving more than two candidates.

This scenario — where National Rally wins the most seats in the legislature but falls short of an absolute majority — would likely inflict gridlock on the lower house, meaning any ambitious legislation or reform would have to be sidelined.

Some members of Macron’s movement, including the former head of the National Assembly, Yael Braun-Pivet, are now campaigning without Macron’s face on their leaflets.

Former prime minister Edouard Philippe, who heads an allied party, said Macron “killed the presidential majority.” His interior minister, Gerald Darmanin, has said he won’t return in the same role even if the president gathers enough support, telling Le Parisien newspaper he wants to rebuild a center-right movement ahead of the next presidential elections in 2027.

Le Pen has suggested Macron will have no option but to resign if the elections lead to gridlock. The president has ruled this out, however, suggesting he may have to work with a prime minister from a group he opposes. National Rally head Jordan Bardella, who is a potential candidate for that role, will hold a news conference later on Monday as the campaign enters its final days before voting begins.

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This story was produced with the assistance of Bloomberg Automation.

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