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French voters uneasy ahead of runoff election

July 2, 2024

France is reeling after Marine Le Pen's National Rally won the first round of the parliamentary elections. Many are deeply concerned about the far-right party's potential impact on the country and the government. DW's Sonia Phalnikar reports from Paris.


[Video transcript]

Sonia Phalnikar, DW reporter: "There's only one thing the French media are talking about today, and that's about this man: Jordan Bardella. 'After the shock, block the far-right.' Or this one: 'The Far Right at the Gates of Power.' Bardella is the president of the far-right National Rally, and he could become the next Prime Minister of France if his party won an absolute majority in parliament — something that was once considered unthinkable in France but today is a distinct possibility." 

It's a scenario that has spooked some here in Paris, where the National Rally doesn't tend to find a lot of support.  

Young woman: "The far-right National Rally and their allies are really scary for France, both for the present and the future. We've totally forgotten history." 

Older woman: "I'm really worried because if the National Rally comes to power, they have no competence in terms of ministers in order to govern France properly. They've built a program full of lies." 

Older woman: "If Jordan Bardella wins, he will show his incompetence. Finally people will realize it's not enough to just have rhetoric on immigration. That's not an economic or political program." 

The outcome of the election, however, is far from certain. Parties are drawing up strategies to block the far-right in this weekend's run-off. 

There is a chance that no party obtains a majority in France's parliament. Some fear that could usher in even more political chaos. 

Older man: "The risk is that France will become ungovernable. The extremes won't have the majority. We might have to vote again because the parliament could be dissolved yet again." 

Meanwhile, voters are already mobilizing against the far-right. This demonstration in Paris was held right after the results of the first-round elections — which the National Rally won for the first time. 
Many here are worried about how France could change if the far-right comes to power. 

Young man: "We need to mobilize and realize that the National Rally is spreading hatred and pitting people against each other. It's really dangerous." 

Older woman: "I'm angry, just angry like all the young people here and just like a whole part of the population." 

The French will head back to the polls on Sunday in the second round of this nail-biting parliamentary election.