France’s Far-Right National Rally Seeks Alliance with Conservatives After European Parliament Success

Following a resounding victory in the European elections, France’s far-right National Rally has launched its national campaign, with its leader, Jordan Bardella, promising supporters “the largest possible majority” in the upcoming parliamentary vote.

Opposition parties on both the left and right are scrambling to form alliances and field candidates in the snap national elections called by President Emmanuel Macron after his party suffered a crushing defeat by the far right in the European Parliament vote.

A win for the National Rally in the national elections could lead to the French far right heading a government for the first time since .

While significant differences persist between parties on both sides of the political spectrum, prominent figures advocating for a united front appear to share one common goal: They are unwilling to collaborate with Macron.

Despite their divisions, left-wing parties reached an agreement on Monday to form an alliance that includes the Greens, the Socialists, the Communists, and Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s far-left France Unbowed. Leaders have yet to agree on the coalition’s leader or its program.

In light of the European polls, left-wing politicians are focused on uniting to prevent a National Rally victory. For now, they have also pledged not to join forces with Macron’s centrists.

In a joint statement, the alliance called upon all left-wing forces, including influential labor unions, to unite behind a “new popular front” to form an “alternative to and to combat the racist agenda of the far right.”

National Rally leader Marine Le Pen is working to consolidate power on the right ahead of the two-round elections on June 30 and July 7. Le Pen’s niece, Marion Maréchal, who won a seat in the European Parliament on Sunday as a member of the rival Reconquer! party of Éric Zemmour, visited National Rally headquarters in Paris on Monday to negotiate a far-right alliance.

Despite their family ties, Maréchal stated on Tuesday that Bardella informed her of a change of heart in the National Rally regarding a pact with the Reconquer! party. Bardella offered “a regrettable explanation against an agreement by stating that (Le Pen’s party) does not want to be associated directly or indirectly with Éric Zemmour,” Maréchal said in a statement.

Le Pen also met with members of the conservative Republicans party to discuss a united front. Some conservative lawmakers have supported some of Macron’s bills in the since the president lost a majority in the lower house of the French parliament following the 2022 general election.

“We have a historic opportunity to enable the national camp to put France back on track,” Le Pen said in an interview with the French public broadcaster on Monday evening. She stated that the National Rally and the conservatives could agree on several policy objectives, including an economic recovery plan, boosting purchasing power, and curbing immigration.

The Republicans’ President Éric Ciotti expressed his desire for an agreement with Le Pen, prompting several prominent members of his party to call for his resignation. Ciotti insisted that the conservatives need the alliance for their political survival.

“I want my political family to move in this direction,” he said in an interview with the French public broadcaster on Tuesday. He criticized what he described as Macron’s bloc within the conservative party, “which has led the country to where it is today — with more violence, more insecurity.”

“A right-wing bloc, a national bloc … is what the vast majority of our voters want,” Ciotti said.

Bardella, Le Pen’s 28-year-old protégé and the face of the far right’s European triumph, also urged French conservatives to capitalize on the National Rally’s surge in popularity. He urged the conservatives to “stop being Emmanuel Macron’s political crutch” and “come and work alongside us.”

French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire called upon Macron’s Renaissance party members to “make room” in their ranks for those conservatives who refuse to cooperate with the far right in the election.

Earlier on Tuesday, Prime Minister Gabriel Attal met with outgoing Renaissance lawmakers who were still reeling from their defeat by the far right and the president’s decision to dissolve the National Assembly.

Attal acknowledged that the dissolution was “a brutal decision” for the lawmakers, but he encouraged them to prepare for “the new fight.”

“You embody stability against chaos … courage against populism,” Attal said.

Macron is expected to discuss the upcoming election in a news conference scheduled for Wednesday.