France’s right wing party National Rally (RN) scored a historic success in legislative elections on Sunday increasing its number of lawmakers almost tenfold and cementing the party’s rise from fringe status to the mainstream opposition.
RN leader Marine Le Pen’s rebranding of the party, previously National Front, secured 42 percent in April’s presidential election, successfully winning support from voters disenchanted with President Emmanuel Macron and angry over globalist policies they see as driving the rising cost of living and the decline of many rural communities.
On Sunday, Le Pen saw that support go one step further. According to estimates, Le Pen’s party will win between 85-90 seats, up from just two in 2012 and eight in 2017, which could make it the second-largest party in parliament. Major pollsters last week estimated just 25-50 seats.
“We have achieved our three objectives: that of making Emmanuel Macron a minority president, without control of power and that of pursuing the political recomposition essential to democratic renewal,” a triumphant Le Pen told reporters after being re-elected in northern France and vowing to be a respectful opposition.
“And of forming a decisive opposition group against the deconstructors from above, the Macronists, and from below, the Nupes,” she added referring to the left wing alliance, which should become the largest opposition bloc in parliament, but whose main far-left party, La France Insoumise, is set to win fewer seats than the RN.
Sunday’s result killed a so-called “republican front” of voters of all stripes that had rallied behind a candidate presenting themselves as a mainstream alternative to the “far-right.”
It also vindicated Le Pen’s strategy to recast the party’s image, while also refusing to join forces with pundit-turned-nationalist politician Eric Zemmour after the presidential vote.
While in terms of seats Le Pen’s party will be behind the left wing grouping, it will enable the RN to have much more weighting in parliament.
It will, for example, be able to put forward no-confidence votes against the government, send draft legislation to France’s top constitutional courts, lead parliamentary commissions and have much more speaking time in the National Assembly.
“We are facing a democratic shock because of a very strong breakthrough by the Rassemblement National,” Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told France 2 television.
Reuters contributed to this article.
From The Epoch Times