France has spoken: ‘Macr-Non’ it is

Photo by

“Macr-Non” is the morning after headline on the International Intrigue newsletter, which is written and edited by a couple (or three) former diplomats.

It does say it all.

France said “non” to Emmanuel Macron on Sunday (June 30) when voters cast their ballots for the 577-seat National Assembly.

President Macron’s party came in third place with roughly 21 per cent of the vote. Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally (RN) party got 33 per cent and the newly-formed left-wing alliance, Nouveau Front Populaire, got 28 per cent.

If the RN continues on a roll and gets a majority in the run-off vote on July 7, France will have its first far-right government since World War II.

What this will mean for France – both domestically and internationally – has long been clear from the RN’s pet peeves and enthusiasms. Mr Macron, unlike the RN, is passionate about continuing to supply Ukraine with military aid and even refused to rule out French boots on the ground.

Unlike Mr Macron, the RN is not keen on Ukraine becoming member of the European Union and the 32-member NATO military alliance/

And the RN has, in times past, suggested that France be removed from NATO’s integrated military command. (The party’s president and prime ministerial candidate Jordan Bardella has said he would respect NATO’s budget for 2024-30.) Clearly, the RN is clearly not part of the NATO fan club. Like Charles de Gaulle.

President de Gaulle removed France from NATO’s integrated military command structure in 1966 and it was only 15 years ago that it rejoined.

France is in the throes of big changes.

What’s underway here is the so-called horseshoe effect, when the far right and the far left sort of meet round behind the centrist sensibles.

This has come about because of Mr Macron’s enormous success back in 2017, when he rode to power as a maverick centrist and consolidated power in parliament. At the time, his En Marche political movement effectively collapsed France’s traditional centre left and centre right parties and France’s opposition to the powerful president accreted around the far right and far left.

What’s astonishing is the voters’ apparent enthusiasm for change. The interior ministry said that the participation rate in the election was just over 59 per cent, some 20 percentage points up from 2022.

Macr-Non, then, it is.

Related Posts