Financial TimesFinancial Times

How French politics put personality ahead of party

By Victor Mallet

16 Jun 2022 · 9 min read

Editor's Note

France votes in the second round of the legislative election on Sunday. FT looks at how France’s politics have become dominated by powerful personalities, masking the vulnerability of its democracy.

For the second time in five years, the liberal internationalist Emmanuel Macron was elected president of France in April after defeating the far-right leader Marine Le Pen. The first leader to be re-elected in two decades, he seemed to stand tall amid the rubble of the old political parties of left and right, as he did in 2017.

There was a surprise waiting in the wings, however. In the National Assembly elections for which the first round of voting was held on Sunday, the main rival to Macron’s centrist alliance was no longer Le Pen’s far-right Rassemblement National. Instead, it was a coalition of leftwing and green parties hastily assembled by the far-left politician Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who came a close third in the presidential vote.

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