The Wipeout

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The far-right National Rally took the lead in France’s first round of legislative elections Sunday, dealing a humiliating blow to centrist President Emmanuel Macron and his gamble in calling a snap election to shore up his support, the Associated Press reported.

Results from France’s interior ministry showed that the National Rally secured 33 percent of the vote, Reuters reported. Ahead of a final run-off vote on July 7, this puts the party on course to win 230-280 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly, up from 88, and become easily the biggest group in parliament.

“The extreme right is at the doors of power,” Prime Minister Gabriel Attal said, warning that France could end up with its first far-right government since World War II if voters don’t come together to thwart that scenario in round two next Sunday.

When Macron dissolved the National Assembly on June 9 after a stinging defeat by the National Rally in French voting for the European Parliament, he gambled that the anti-immigration party with historical links to antisemitism wouldn’t repeat that success when France’s own fate was in the balance, the newswire wrote.

That gamble didn’t pay off in the first round. Even so, the French have in past elections voted for fringe parties in the first round before changing their vote in the second.

Still, winning a parliamentary majority would enable National Rally figurehead Marine Le Pen to install her 28-year-old protégé, Jordan Bardella, as prime minister. She inherited the party, then called the National Front, from her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, who has multiple convictions for racist and antisemitic hate speech, and spent years rebranding it as more mainstream.

Meanwhile, the four-party left-wing alliance, New Popular Front, came in second nationally with 28.1 percent of the vote. The alliance is made up of Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s Unsubmissive France, Socialists, Greens and Communists. Ipsos calculated that the bloc could win 125-165 seats, making it the second-biggest parliamentary bloc.

Macron’s centrist alliance, Ensemble, won around 20 percent of the vote and is projected to lose more than half of its seats in what one official called a “total catastrophe.” Macron has said he will not step down before his term expires in 2027.

Meanwhile, turnout was more than 66 percent, according to polling estimates, which would make it the highest for a first-round legislative election in 27 years.

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