French Elections: Populist Le Pen Party Won Most Votes But Awarded Third Most Seats

French Rassemblement National (RN) far-right party's leader Marine Le Pen talks the press

The French election results showed that the “alliance of dishonour” between President Emmanuel Macron and the far left effectively blocked the populist National Rally from gaining a majority despite the Le Pen party having won the most votes.

According to the French Interior Ministry, Marine Le Pen’s National Rally (RN) won the most votes of any party during Sunday’s second round of the snap legislative elections at over 8.7 million, good for 32.05 per cent of the vote.

When combined with their electoral alliance partners from disputed Les Républicains president Eric Ciotti, who earned nearly 1.4 million, good for 5 per cent of the vote, that would take the right wing to over 10 million and 37.05 per cent of the vote.

In comparison, the far-left New Popular Front alliance of communists, socialists, and environmentalists led by radical leftist Jean-Luc Mélenchon only received around seven million votes or around 25.7 per cent and Emmanuel Macron’s neo-liberal centrist coalition received 6.3 million votes or 23.15 per cent of the vote.

However, despite receiving 1.7 million fewer votes than RN, the New Popular Front was awarded the most seats of any party, currently projected by Le Monde at 182. Macron’s coalition won an estimated 168 seats, and despite coming in first in terms of vote share, the RN and its partners were awarded the third most seats at a projected 143.

The disparity between votes and seats in the National Assembly came as a result of the backroom deal struck between President Macron and the New Popular Front, in which each side agreed to drop out in favour of the candidate with the best chance of beating out the populist party in over 200 legislative districts.

Just days before forging the pact to stymie Le Pen, Macron had warned that voting for either the National Rally or the New Popular Front leftists would lead to “civil war”, leading many to question why he was willing to side with the leftist bloc after the first round of voting saw RN surge.

The 28-year-old leader of the National Rally, Jordan Bardella, criticised the “alliance of dishonour” between Macron and the New Popular Front, which he said would “throw France into the arms of the far left of Jean-Luc Mélenchon”.

Putting a positive spin on the outcome, former RN presidential candidate Marine Le Pen said: “Two years ago we had just seven MPs. Tonight RN is the first party in France in terms of MP numbers.”

This is true, while Macron’s coalition and the New Popular Front boast more seats in total, they are both groupings of various smaller parties, while RN is the only single party to have over 100 seats in the National Assembly.

While a disappointing result for the populist party, it may set the RN up for an easier path to win the French presidency in 2027. With a looming debt crisis, the National Rally being out of power will mean that it will not have to take any of the blame for the potential economic calamity on the horizon.

The party will also likely benefit from the fact that Emmanuel Macron — who has been effective at rallying centrists to his banner — will be barred from running for the presidency again because of term limits. It is also unclear how effective Macron will be in leading the country for the remainder of his term now that he will be tethered politically to literal communists.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on X: or e-mail to:


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.