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French far-right ahead in pre-election polling

By Jonathan Powell in London | China Daily Global | Updated: 2024-06-25 06:32

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen, Eric Ciotti, contested leader of French conservative party Les Republicains (The Republicans - LR), and Sebastien Chenu, vice-president of the French far-right National Rally (Rassemblement National - RN) party are surrounded by journalist before a press conference by Jordan Bardella, President of the Rassemblement National party, to present policy priorities as part of the campaign for the upcoming French parliamentary elections, in Paris, France on June 24. [Photo/Agencies]

A fresh poll of voting intentions in France shows the far-right National Rally party and its allies have a significant lead ahead of the first round of the parliamentary election, scheduled for Sunday.

An Ipsos survey, commissioned by Le Parisien newspaper and Radio France on June 19 and 20, suggests the right-wing alliance is leading, on 35.5 percent of the vote, with the left-wing alliance of the New Popular Front, or NFP, and its allies following closely in second place with 29.5 percent.

French President Emmanuel Macron's centrist Ensemble coalition is shown to be in third position, on 19.5 percent of the votes.

Voter turnout is projected to range from 60 to 64 percent, significantly surpassing the 47.5 percent recorded during the previous general election in June 2022, said Ipsos.

National Rally's advantage in pre-election polls for the upcoming two-round election on June 30 and July 7 is not expected to secure the party a majority, reported Reuters.

Macron announced the election following his alliance's significant loss in the European Parliament elections earlier this month.

According to a separate Ipsos poll commissioned by the Financial Times newspaper, National Rally, or RN, is regarded by voters as the most trustworthy party for handling economic matters and public finances.

The survey results indicate 25 percent of participants trust Marine Le Pen's RN the most to make the correct decisions on economic matters, compared to 22 percent for the NFP, and 20 percent for Macron's Ensemble.

The FT reported that Macron's centrist coalition is facing a challenging task in persuading voters that its rivals would cause an economic collapse.

French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal, who is heading the Ensemble campaign, reinforced its core message on Sunday, cautioning on RTL radio that France could face "economic and social carnage" and a "crushing of the middle class" if the far-right or the left assume power.

Attal emphasized that the centrists were gaining momentum, having increased in support since their significant loss in the European Parliament elections on June 9.

Despite counsel from his own team to refrain from direct involvement in the campaign to avoid turning it into a referendum on his presidency, Macron issued a letter to the French people on Sunday, in which he defended his administration's record and encouraged voters to shun extreme ideologies and support moderate candidates.

"This third way is best for our country," he said in the letter. He also declared his intention to remain as president until 2027.

Ensemble has criticized the NFP and RN for failing to provide specific information on how they intend to fund spending plans.

Last week, Macron's Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said "France's fiscal room to maneuver is non-existent", describing the policies proposed by the NFP and the far-right as "delusional programs out of step with the state of public finances".

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