French Elections For Members

French election breakdown: Party alliances and the Ciotti soap opera

Emma Pearson
Emma Pearson - [email protected]
French election breakdown: Party alliances and the Ciotti soap opera
Members of the media wait for the leader of Les Republicains to leave the party headquarters in Paris. Photo by STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN / AFP

Five days into campaigning for the snap parliamentary elections in France, here's our latest election breakdown bringing you up to date with the latest - from the party alliances and deals to the high farce at the party HQ of Les Républicains.


During the election period we will be publishing a bi-weekly 'election breakdown' to help you keep up with all the latest developments. You can receive these as an email by going to the newsletter section here and selecting subscribe to 'breaking news alerts'.

It's now five days since French president Emmanuel Macron's surprise election announcement and right now, it's all about alliances - namely which parties will succeed in making electoral pacts. And attempts to form these alliances have produced the funniest and most dramatic moments so far.

The end of Eric?

First up was Eric Ciotti, leader of the right-wing Les Républiains party, who announced an alliance with Marine Le Pen's far-right Rassemblement National. However, party bigwigs (this is the former party of Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy) were horrified by his deal and immediately attempted to expel him.

Farce ensued with Ciotti locking the doors of the party Paris HQ, party bosses holding a meeting to expel him anyway, Ciotti refusing to accept their verdict and announcing a legal challenge, then posting a video of himself arriving at the office the following morning insisting that he was still in charge.

Cue a veritable tsunami of jokes and social media memes as most of France grabbed some popcorn and settled down to watch the drama. 


Family drama

Also having some internal issues is Reconquête, the party founded by right-wing polemicist Eric Zemmour in 2022 whose platform was, basically, that Le Pen was no longer far right enough.

They gained five MEPs at the European elections, but within 48 hours Zemmour had expelled four of them from the party after they attempted to form an alliance with RN. Among those he branded "traitors" was the party's lead candidate Marion Maréchal, niece of Marine Le Pen who very publicly broke with her aunt in 2022 to join Zemmour.

Zemmour himself went on TV to talk through his feelings of betrayal. 

Popular for some 

Over on the left of the political spectrum things have been - most uncharacteristically - calmer and more cordial. The four biggest parties on the left (the hard-left La France Insoumise, the centre-left Parti Socialiste, the Greens EELV, and the Communist Party) have concluded an election pact not to stand candidates against each other.

The deal will see 229 LFI candidates, 170 PS candidates, 92 Greens and 50 Communists.

However the solidarity of the 'Front populaire' could soon splinter as they continue to discuss the hypothetical question of who they would nominate as prime minister, should they gain an absolute majority in parliament.

Three-way split

So it looks like the elections will be - as they were in 2022 - largely fought on a three-way split; the combined parties of the left; the far-right with a few allies and the centrist bloc made up of Macronists plus the two smaller centrist parties (MoDem and Horizons).

What next?

Candidates have until the end of Friday to submit their papers and the next big date is Saturday, when towns and cities all over France will hold demos protesting against the rise of the far-right - find the full list here.


While politicians across the spectrum continue to snipe at each other and jostle for position, many people across the country are simply appalled at the prospect of the far-right in power in France, and thousands of them are expected to take to the streets over the weekend to show their feelings.

READ ALSO What a far-right prime minister could mean for foreigners in France

Then, on Monday, the campaign proper begins - parties that not already done so will need to produce a manifesto and the conversation will likely move away from the amusing soap opera of alliance-building and onto policy platforms and candidates.

We will be publishing this election breakdown twice a week during the election period. You can receive these as an email by going to the newsletter section here and selecting subscribe to 'breaking news alerts'.


Comments (3)

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Steph 2024/06/14 20:48
I add my thanks. I appreciate that the articles are tailored to meet the information needs of thelocal community. Maybe it is time to add an option to donate in addition to subscribing.
Paul Dobbs 2024/06/14 11:35
Yes, thank you Emma for these excellent explanations (which are refreshingly devoid of political-analysis claptrap!), But one question: in your sentence under "Three-Way Split" I'm not sure where it will be that Les Republicains, diminished and quarrelling as they are, will fall in. Allies of the far right or the centrist bloc? Haha, maybe I am not sure because that is an open question.
  • Emma Pearson 2024/06/14 12:43
    Yes good point - I think the biggest problem is that Les Républicains themselves aren't sure where they will fall in! I guess we'll find out next week . . .
L. Michaels 2024/06/14 10:54
Thank you Emma for your very clear ongoing explanations!

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