Marine Le Pen’s National Rally Party won three additional senate seats in France, a significant development in the context of Europe’s burgeoning right-wing movement. The result represents a significant setback for Emmanuel Macron.
The far-right National Rally, led by Le Pen, made a breakthrough in the recent French senate elections held yesterday night (September 24), resulting in the election of three of its candidates.
Emmanuel Macron, on the other hand, suffered a significant setback as a result of the elections. Secretary of State for Citizenship Sonia Backès, the only member of his government who ran in the election, was defeated in the French territory of New Caledonia.
While in Paris, Macron’s En Marche party suffered a setback when outgoing senator Julien Bargeton lost his seat.
The Rassemblement National (RN) representatives making a return to the parliamentary chamber are Christopher Szczurek elected in Pas-de-Calais, and Aymeric Durox and Joshua Hochart, elected in Seine-et-Marne and the North respectively.
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In Paris, the United Left won eight of the twelve remaining seats, including the election of Yannick Jadot and communist Ian Brossat to France’s legislative chamber.
Although the Senate has less legislative power than the National Assembly, the lowest chamber of parliament, the assembly has final authority in cases of legislative disagreements.
Given that Macron’s party lost its majority in June of the previous year, senators wield more power when it comes to finding common ground with the upper house to pass legislation.
The Senate is structured in such a way that only half of its seats are contested at any given time.
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This Sunday, 170 of the total 348 seats were up for grabs for a six-year term, with the remaining 178 seats up for grabs in 2026.
The Senate’s composition is notable for the presence of the main party, the right-wing Les Républicains, which is closely followed by the Socialists.
This current state of play depicts a return to traditional French politics, reminiscent of a decade ago.
In recent years, presidential elections have been dominated by centrist politicians such as Macron, as well as hard-left and far-right candidates.
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Senate Speaker Gérard Larcher of the Républicains party is expected to be re-elected for a sixth consecutive term.
The 74-year-old recently welcomed King Charles III of the United Kingdom to the Senate.
Larcher described the renewal of senators as a strengthening of the Senate’s right and centre-right majorities.
He emphasised the Senate’s function as an “essential counter-power”.
The Senate’s Républicains group leader, Bruno Retailleau, viewed the results as yet another setback for Macron, emphasising the French leader’s apparent “lack of connection on the ground”.
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