New Popular Front (NFP), France’s hastily formed leftist alliance, has come out on top after Sunday’s election, triumphing over President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist Ensemble coalition and Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally (RN).

The snap election, initiated by Macron following his party’s defeat in the EU elections, ultimately saw the NFP taking 182 seats in France’s National Assembly, followed by Ensemble’s 168 seats and RN’s 143 seats, upending the RN’s first-round victory on June 30 in a surprising turn of events.

“With this election result, none of the major parties has a majority. A coalition will need to be formed, a situation which is unusual in French politics. This will make the French political decision process less effective.

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“Furthermore, Macron will be less influential in the international political theatre, because his mandate is limited in his own country due to this election result,” Netherland-based political commentator Michiel Hilgeman told Kyiv Post.

While the NFP’s victory has prevented the far right from rising to power, its implications for Ukraine remain uncertain. 

Who’s the NFP?

The NFP is a leftist alliance hastily formed in early June to counter Le Pen’s far-right RN party following the latter’s success in the EU elections.

The alliance comprises multiple parties: the far-left La France Insoumise party led by Jean-Luc Mélenchon; the central-left Place Publique party led by Raphael Glucksmann; the moderate Socialist Party led by Olivier Faure, and others.

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Since the NFP came out on top without securing a majority, it is believed that the alliance would nominate a leader to become France’s next prime minister in what is known as “cohabitation” alongside Macron until the latter’s term ends in 2027.

Cohabitation means reduced power for the French president, and the prime minister “directs the action of the government, ensures the execution of laws and is responsible for national defense,” according to the French Constitution.

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In other words, Macron’s pro-Ukrainian policy might be affected by the latest elections.

NFP on Ukraine

While the possibility of the far-right coming to power in France has led to concerns over future aid to Ukraine due to Le Pen’s longstanding connection with the Kremlin prior to Moscow’s 2022 invasion and recent calls to curb aid to Kyiv, the potential rise of NFP’s Mélenchon is equally concerning.

Mélenchon, a major figure in the NFP and potential candidate for France’s next prime minister, is also known for his pro-Kremlin stance.

In 2016, Mélenchon was named one of the “key pro-Russian actors in France” alongside Le Pen by an Atlantic Council report titled “The Kremlin’s Trojan Horses” due to his Russophile position.

Though he condemned Moscow’s 2022 full-scale invasion, he also justified Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and called the Kyiv government “neo-Nazis” on previous occasions, echoing the Kremlin’s narrative.

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In February, Mélenchon also criticized Macron’s support on social media to send French troops to Ukraine if need be. “It is high time to negotiate peace in Ukraine with mutual security clauses,” Mélenchon said.

However, there’s still a silver lining for Ukraine as other leaders in the NFP share more pro-Ukrainian views.

Glucksmann, the leader of the centrist-left Place Publique and former advisor to imprisoned Georgian ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili, has made aid to Ukraine a priority in his campaign, as reported by Euractiv in May. 

Olivier Faure, the leader of the Socialist Party, also reiterated his support for Ukraine in a March interview with local media.

“If we let Russia win, the risk we all run is to find ourselves in a situation where Russia will not stop,” said Faure.

The new prime minister is expected to be nominated within a week, which might provide more certainty on the ramifications of the latest political storm in France.

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