France faces a monumental election on Sunday 30th June 2024

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France stands at a crucial crossroads as the country gets ready to vote in the first round of the this  upcoming parliamentary elections this Sunday.

The outcome could lead to the country’s first far-right government since the Nazi occupation of France during the Second World War or a situation where no majority emerges.

The far-right National Rally – previously known as the National Front – hopes to capitalize on its majority victory over President Emmanuel Macron’s Renaissance Party in the European Parliament elections.

hree major political blocs are running: The National Rally and its allies, President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist alliance Ensemble and the left-wing coalition New Popular Front.

While the far-right party dominates in the polls, the outcome of the vote, following the second round on July 7, remains uncertain.

How French elections work?

Elections in France are somewhat more complex than the UK’s first-past-the-post system, with voting split into two rounds.

Under the nation’s two-round system, legislators are elected by district. A candidate requires over 50% of the vote to be elected outright on Sunday, if not achieved another round is needed.

If all candidates fail to receive a majority vote, the top two contenders alongside any who gain enough votes from more than 12.5% of voters will go forward to the second round.

The results of this election decide the number of seats each party will receive in the National Assembly, which is the lower and more powerful of France’s two houses of parliament, as well as who will become the Prime Minister. The Assembly has the final say in the law-making process over the Senate.

The presidency is not being decided in this election.

Macron has a presidential mandate until 2027 and has said he would not step down before the end of his term.

National Rally’s Jordan Bardella, French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal and far-left party La France Insoumise member Manuel BompardCredit: AP

Sometimes, three or four people advance to the second round, but some may choose to step aside in order to increase the chances of another competitor.

This tactic has been frequently used in the past by the left and centrists to prevent far-right candidates from winning.

Party leaders are expected to reveal their political strategies in between the two rounds, making the result of the second round highly unpredictable as it depends on political manoeuvring and voters’ reaction.

The National Rally hopes to win an absolute majority of 289 out of the 577 seats in the National Assembly.

To the dismay of the left and centrists, the National Rally may make major gains in the Assembly if opinion polls translate into votes.

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