France National Election: Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally (RN) party achieved historic gains in the first round of France’s parliamentary election on Sunday, according to exit polls. However, the final outcome will be determined after days of negotiations leading up to next week’s run-off. Exit polls from Ipsos, Ifop, OpinionWay, and Elabe indicated that the National Rally garnered around 34% of the vote. This development represents a significant setback for President Emmanuel Macron, who called the snap election following his party’s defeat by the RN in the European Parliament elections earlier this month.

The RN’s chances of securing power next week hinge on the political negotiations of its rivals in the coming days. Historically, center-right and center-left parties have joined forces to prevent the RN from gaining power, a strategy known as the “republican front.” However, this dynamic is now more uncertain than ever. If no candidate secures 50% of the vote in the first round, the top two contenders automatically advance to the second round, along with any candidate who receives 12.5% ​​of registered voters. In the run-off, the candidate with the most votes wins the constituency.

Possible Prime Minister

Jordan Bardella, the 28-year-old RN party president, said he was ready to be prime minister – if his party wins an absolute majority. He has ruled out trying to form a minority government and neither Macron nor the NFP leftist group will form an alliance with him.

What does a win for far-right mean for India?

Trading and Investment

The RN’s economic policies are generally protectionist. This could lead to a reduction in French openness to foreign trade and investment, potentially affecting economic relations with India.

Defence and Strategic Ties

France and India have strong defence ties, including joint military exercises and defence procurement. A far-right government might re-evaluate existing agreements, which could either strengthen or weaken defence cooperation depending on its strategic priorities.

Indian Diaspora

A far-right government might implement stricter immigration controls, which could affect the large Indian diaspora in France, particularly students and professionals. Tighter immigration policies could impact Indian students, workers, and tourists, potentially reducing the movement of people between the two countries.

EU Trade Policies

If the RN influences the EU’s trade policies, it could lead to changes in the EU-India trade relationship. Protectionist policies might make it harder for Indian goods and services to access the French and broader European markets.