Who might lead the French government and implications for military aid to Ukraine

Tuesday, 9 July 2024 —

"In Paris enthusiasm, in Moscow disappointment, in Kyiv relief," commented Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk on the results of the parliamentary elections in France.

He wasn't alone. Many Western politicians have praised France for avoiding the scenario of a far-right government. "For now, a certain relief prevails that things that we feared have not materialized," said Steffen Hebestreit, Olaf Scholz's spokesperson.

The election results mean no political force will have a majority, leading France into a period of political uncertainty.

Read more on whether this crisis can be resolved quickly and what it means for Ukraine in the article by Yurii Panchenko, a European Pravda editor – Macron the Victor: How France stopped far-Right from coming to power and what it Means for Ukraine.


"French citizens turned out en masse for the elections on 7 July. They said 'no' to the National Rally coming to power. This is great news," commented French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire.

He supported President Emmanuel Macron's decision to call snap elections, a decision made in such a tight circle that it even surprised Prime Minister Gabriel Attal and was met with resistance within Macron's party, Renaissance.

Taking a significant political risk, Macron banked on two things: mobilising the electorate and uniting all political forces against the far-right.

Unexpectedly for many, this strategy has paid off in the second round.

The current elections showed that there is a "glass ceiling" in French society that the far-right cannot surpass.

How soon can the French government change, and who might lead it?

Macron's optimal configuration is a broad coalition where his party plays a central role, joined by moderate leftists (socialists and ecologists) and the Republicans.

Mathematically, this coalition can be formed, but practically, it is more complicated.

Two scenarios are still valid: a minority government formed solely by the leftist New Popular Front or a coalition of the left and Macronists.

Both options mean that the coalition will not have a majority without the far-left Unsubmissive France (part of the New Popular Front"), which is very hostile to Macron.

If there is a leftist minority government, a moderate politician will likely become the new prime minister.

Hints from the Élysée Palace suggest that Macron is willing to delegate the prime minister's position to a member of the New Popular Front" if they are not "anti-republican."

Despite strained relations between the left and the president's party, former French President François Hollande, who entered the parliament, will mediate between Macron and the New Popular Front.

A leftist minority government scenario plays generally into Macron's hand.

If the leftist coalition falls apart, the "centrist coalition" involving Macronists, Republicans, socialists and ecologists might come back into play, though this could lead to a deeper crisis.

Nevertheless, there are reasons to hope that under the new French government, military aid to Ukraine will not be cancelled or reduced and the permission to use French weapons against Russian territory will remain in place.

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