French Elections For Members

French election breakdown: Manifestos, party in-fighting and spending plans

Emma Pearson
Emma Pearson - [email protected]
French election breakdown: Manifestos, party in-fighting and spending plans
A supporter uses a poster over his head against the rain at a rally for the leftist alliance Nouveau Front Populaire in Montreuil on June 17, 2024. Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP

We're now 10 days on from Emmanuel Macron's shock election announcement - so from fragile election alliances to bitter in-fighting, party manifestos to court hearings, here's the latest from the election trail in France.


During the election period we will be publishing a bi-weekly 'election breakdown' to help you keep up with 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 10 days since Macron's announcement of a snap election and the comedy/ drama/ farce of the first week (which included the right-wing Les Republicains' leader barricading himself in his office) has given way to the slightly more serious business of the official campaign phase.

The formal campaign period began on Monday, giving parties two weeks until the first round of voting on Sunday, June 30th - can the newly created alliances hold together for a fortnight? Who can say?

Gallic alliances

At the end of a week of frantic alliance building - in which parties agreed not to stand candidates against each other in certain seats in order to avoid splitting their vote - we seem to have settled largely into three blocks; the united (for now) parties of the left making up the Nouveau Front Populaire, Macron's centrists and Marine Le Pen's far-right with a tiny rump of support from some members of Les Républicains (LR).


Of course it's not quite that straightforward. That controversial deal made by Eric Ciotti infuriated most of his party and in the end around 60 LR candidates are abiding by his deal to ally with Le Pen's party, while the party will field around 400 candidates against Le Pen. Meanwhile Ciotti is contesting his sacking through the courts while his colleagues desperately try to get rid of him. 

Cracks are also emerging on the left - the hard-left La France Insoumise (LFI) is the subject of bitter infighting over candidate selection after several high-profile MPs who have been critical of party leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon were not selected to stand again, while Mélenchon ally (and convicted domestic abuser) Adrien Quatennens was. Quatennens withdrew his candidacy after an outcry, but several former LFI candidates are now standing against official LFI candidates.

Meanwhile within the Macron camp, quite a few of the senior party members seem distinctly unenthusiastic about their boss' election gamble.

Of course, all this chaos is nothing compared to what will happen if none of these blocks win an absolute majority in parliament, and Macron is forced to try and create some agreement between these warring factions . . .


The main parties have all now unveiled their manifestos. You can read a breakdown of what they would all mean HERE, with particular emphasis on the policies that would affect foreigners living in France and those hoping to move here some day.

The Nouveau Front Populaire promises a high-spend, big-state domestic policy (with the only slight quibble being how all that would be paid for) and some very carefully worded compromises on the foreign policy issues that have split the parties.


Meanwhile the Macronists, slightly hobbled by the fact that they've already laid out more of their programme for government, also resorted to chucking money at the problem, promising to triple the 'Macron bonus' that some workers get and various other bonuses and benefits.

Rassemblement National  

Over on the far-right Le Pen's Rassemblement National has largely avoided the political chaos and infighting of their rivals, but appear rather unsure what their policies are.

They published a manifesto - find details here - but then seem to have spent the last few days frantically rowing back on some of their promises, including axing VAT on 'essential' products. Could this be because they secretly know that their policies are financially unworkable? A projection from the UK's Financial Times estimated that RN's policies would cost at least twice as much to the French economy as Liz Truss' disastrous budget did to the UK's.

Finally, RN's pick for prime minister - 28-year-old Jordan Bardella - announced that he only wants to be PM if the party gains an absolute majority in parliament.

What next?

We have another 10 days of election campaigns before the first round of voting on Sunday, June 30th and then the second round a week later on July 7th.

There are likely to also be some TV debates, although details for date, time and participants (especially the representative for the left alliance) are still TBC.

At present it's a toss up between which will happen first - Kylian Mbappé's nose healing or one of the party alliances spectacularly imploding. 

You can find all the latest election news in our French elections section HERE, or sign up to receive this bi-weekly briefing as an email by going to the newsletter section here and selecting subscribe to 'breaking news alerts'.



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