France, and Europe, at the crossroads of the vote

The first to vote today were the French from the overseas territories: first those in the archipelago of Saint Pierre and Miquelon just opposite Canada, followed by the islands in the Caribbean, French Guiana and then the small islands in the Pacific. Tomorrow 30 June there will be voting from 8am to 8pm in France after the President of the Republic Macron dissolved the National Assembly following the European elections debacle which saw his Renaissance literally dissolve. The polls increasingly show the Rassemblement National (RN), Marine Le Pen’s party, as the favourite, which now seems certain to exceed 37%, while the Nouveau Front Populaire (NFP), the united front of the left, stands at 27.5/ 29% and Macron stops at 20/21%.

And, while fear rises in Europe in the face of a victory of the far right, Madame Le Pen says: “Once again, I am fighting for my country, I am fighting for my people and for them I am ready to make enormous sacrifices like many people around me.” Then, to the usual question that has been asked for years, namely about the alleged “fear” of governing, she responds piquedly in an interview on RTL radio: “We need to stop this story according to which we are “afraid of…”. If I were afraid of anyone, I would have decided to plant strawberries, I would have decided to raise cats as my main occupation. I could have entered many professions in which there is absolutely no risk. Allow me to say that my path may suggest that I am brave enough that I am not very afraid of anything.” Tomorrow, voting will take place in 577 constituencies where the same number of deputies are elected who, to advance to the first round, must obtain an absolute majority and collect at least 25% of the votes of registered voters. The second round is set for July 7: at that point there will be run-offs between the most voted candidates in the individual constituencies. Winner takes all.

On the left, street demonstrations have pushed the parties to unite in the New Popular Front (NFP), new because it revives the Popular Front of 1936, created to fight fascism in Europe and this time brings together Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s La France Insoumise, a leader who is openly too pro-Palestinian and so indulgent towards Hamas that he is now considered anti-Semitic, the Socialist Party and Raphael Glucksmann’s Place Publique, the Greens and the Communist Party. On the right, the Rassemblement National is nominating Jordan Bardella, just 28 years old and president of the party, as prime minister, while in some constituencies it is supporting the candidates of the Republicans who have remained faithful to Éric Ciotti and those who have decided to follow the rebel Marion Maréchal, niece of Marine Le Pen, expelled from Éric Zemmour’s Reconquête (which would barely reach a miserable 3% according to pollsters). In the middle remain Macron’s Renaissance, François Bayrou’s Modem and Horizons of former Prime Minister Edouard Philippe. If the RN wins in the first round, Macron will be forced to decide which side to take and could become the deciding factor in a system that will change from tripolar to bipolar. What is certain is that whatever the outcome of these legislative elections, he will not resign and will continue to remain President of the Republic until May 2027, that is, until the end of his mandate, accepting the will of the French, ending up bidding adieu to Gabriel Attal and leaving the post of Prime Minister to the young Bardella. This would inaugurate a cohabitation 3.0 after that of almost 40 years ago with Mitterand (socialist) at the Elysée and the neo-Gaullist Chirac as Prime Minister in 1986; and then with the same Chirac elected President of the Republic who dissolved the assembly in 1997 and was forced to coexist with the socialist Jospin, the Prime Minister who emerged from the polls.

While in Italy the spotlight has been on the racist comments of a few kids from the Fdi base for days, pretending not to see how much anti-Jewish hatred is hidden in the “anti-Zionist” positions of many left-wingers, in France anti-Semitism has been at the center of the debate for what has revealed itself in this electoral campaign: a problem of the New Popular Front now aligned with the most extreme positions of young French Arabs. So much so that many Jewish intellectuals now ostracized by Mélanchon could vote in the second round for the right of RN. Just like the famous “Nazi hunter” Serge Klarsfeld, a first-time macro commentator, who declared that on July 7 he will choose Le Pen without any ifs or buts: «Because the axis of my life is the defense of Jewish memory, the defense of the persecuted Jews, the defense of Israel”.