The European elections in France

The European elections in France

Angeline Charbonnier May 2019

With a record voter turnout of 50.12%, the French have proved the forecasts wrong. The surge in participation was mainly observed in the departments where the far-right Rassemblement National (RN) is in the lead, thus contributing to make the populist party the winner of these elections. President Emmanuel Macron’s La République en Marche came in at a close 0.9% difference behind RN as the second largest party in these elections. The green group, Europe Ecologie les Verts, which came third, succeeded in its challenge by becoming the first political force on the left and gaining 4% more votes than in the 2014 European elections.

Les Républicains obtained their worst results in the European elections since 1979 by convincing only 8.4% of voters. This political disallowance, attributed to the president of Les Républicains, Laurent Wauquiez, should lead to a profound transformation of the party in favour of the moderates and liberals. Le Parti Socialiste, led by Raphaël Glucksmann, reached 6.1% and came in after La France Insoumise, which reached 6.3%, below the results of the last presidential elections. Amongst the small parties, Le Parti Animaliste achieved a surprise score with 2.1% of the votes, while the yellow vest lists failed to exceed 1% of the votes.

The European election reflects the French political restructuring that began during the last presidential elections: an increase of moderates to 24.9% (La République en Marche, UDI / +15% compared to 2014), a stabilisation of the left despite its divisions at 31.7% (EELV, LFI, PS, Generation.s, PCF), a right-wing sovereignist bloc at 26.8% (RN and Debout la France / – 1.8% compared to 2014) and the isolation of Les Républicains with 8.4% (-12% compared to 2014).

Overall, the pro-European parties obtained 58% of the votes, against 35.6% of the votes for the left-wing and right-wing Eurosceptic parties. Supporters of Frexit obtained only 1.8% of the votes.