NewsUnprecedented turnout in French elections as far-right leads polls

Unprecedented turnout in French elections as far‑right leads polls

Emmanuel Macron
Emmanuel Macron
Images source: © PAP | YARA NARDI / POOL
Adam Zygiel

30 June 2024 17:04

Turnout in France's first round of parliamentary elections is currently at a record high. By noon, as many as 25.9 percent of voters had turned out at the polls. This is significantly higher than in 2022 and is the highest figure since 1981.

The first round of the snap parliamentary elections will occur in France on 30 June. The elections are historic, if only because they may be the first time that a faction considered the far right can come to power. The National Rally is leading in the polls.

The elections are immensely popular. According to data from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, turnout by noon was 25.9 percent. At the same time, in 2022, only 18.43 percent of voters had cast their ballots, and in 2017, 19.2 percent.

The current result is the highest turnout since 1981, when 27.6 percent of voters had cast their ballots by noon. At that time, the elections were also historic and ended in a victory for the socialists.

Why such a high turnout?

The media indicate that the high turnout is surprising as the timing – the turn of June and July – is unusual. Polls had shown that only a little over 60 percent of the French intended to vote at all.

Experts believe that voters on the left and the right see an opportunity for change in France without waiting for the presidential elections, which will not occur until 2027. Polarisation is also likely mobilising voters. Broad coalitions of the right, left, and liberals are vying for victory.

The second round of the French parliamentary elections will take place on 7 July. Citizens are electing 577 members of parliament.

The elections are snap. President Emmanuel Macron decided to organise them after his party was defeated in the European Parliament elections. The National Rally achieved the highest result in almost the entire country—except for Paris and a few overseas territories.

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