French President Emmanuel Macron has been reelected for a second term, but the elections in France aren’t over yet; parliamentary elections in France take place after the presidential election, and the defeated candidates are fighting hard to undermine Macron by winning seats in the June elections. Right-wing candidate Eric Zemmour has suggested forming a nationalist coalition to challenge Macron’s parliamentary majority, but the idea is controversial.
Macron opponents look to parliamentary elections
The Le Pen dynasty has dominated nationalist politics in France for decades; Marine Le Pen and her father have repeatedly contested presidential elections at the head of their party.
2022 was the best performance a Le Pen has ever had, but for Zemmour and some other conservatives it isn’t enough after so many years of being denied the presidency.
Zemmour attempted to replace Le Pen as the standard bearer of French nationalism in his 2022 campaign, even managing to entice Le Pen’s niece to desert and join his Reconquête! party.
Despite polling ahead of Le Pen at times, Zemmour ultimately fell behind in the closing weeks of the race as his competitor for the right-wing vote surged to second place.
He urged his supporters to vote for her in the second round, but her defeat in the runoff again highlighted the frustration felt by many French conservatives.
Despite running against an unpopular incumbent and calling on an enthusiastic young base, Le Pen once again failed to secure the crucial presidency for the right.
Nationalist candidates still at odds
Nous avons une immense responsabilité : construire une #UnionNationale avec Reconquête!, le RN, DLF et les LR patriotes pour que le camp national puisse être le 1er bloc devant le bloc macroniste et le bloc mélenchoniste à l’Assemblée nationale. Il en va de la survie de la 🇫🇷 ! pic.twitter.com/0qWqJ1neXN
— Marion Maréchal (@MarionMarechal) April 25, 2022
Macron’s enemies still have a chance to fight his agenda if they can shred his parliamentary majority in June. Far-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon has been looking to June since his third-place finish in the first round, and now Le Pen will be doing the same.
With Macron’s victory being largely owed to voters grudgingly deciding that he was the lesser evil, the opposition parties should have a chance to seize a majority if enough of them unite.
Unfortunately for them, the anti-Macron factions are anything but united. The French electorate is roughly divided into thirds. The smallest of these is the fractured left, which has refused to rally behind Mélenchon.
The right is much stronger and has a much better chance of securing a majority, but the rivalry between Le Pen and Zemmour has thus far made that an impossibility.
Zemmour is now publicly asking for a nationalist coalition. On paper, this could produce a majority to block Macron’s agenda and strengthen the right.
The challenge will be in convincing Le Pen and her party to agree to such an arrangement with a rising party that threatens their own dominant position on the French right.