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Why a resurgent far-right will hand France to the left

  • Although François Hollande has now been sworn in as President of France, his capacity to govern the country hangs on the outcome of the elections to the French Assembly in June, where French conservatives maintain a large majority.
  • Our analysis of the polling data from the first round of the French presidential election suggests that the right are likely to lose this majority chiefly because the rising influence of the far-right Front National has split the right wing vote and put potentially hundreds of Union pour un Mouvement Populaire (UMP) seats in play. Hollande’s ability to keep his own far-left wing inside his electoral coalition has been critical to his success.
  • This is a political earthquake for the French right. How moderate conservatives respond to it will be a key determinant of the future direction of French politics and for the tone and substance of the French right.
  • But it has implications for all of French politics, because it confirms that the real third force in French politics is an anti-globalist vote on the left and the right that now outnumbers either major party. This dynamic will create a clear incentive for both the left wing Parti Socialiste (PS) and the right wing UMP to take an ambivalent stance on globalisation, foreign ownership and the prevailing view of austerity in Berlin.

The views expressed in this report can be attributed to the named author(s) only.