How France is a ticking time-bomb which threatens to blow apart the EU | Express Comment | Comment

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How France is a ticking time-bomb which threatens to blow apart the EU | Express Comment | Comment

A secret poll – which was never supposed to have been leaked and was commissioned by Les Républicains (the French equivalent of the Tories) – has found that nationalist Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National (RN) party could win an outright majority in the French Parliament if an election was held right now.

The poll found the Centre-Right could go from 62 MPs to around 53, while RN would win 278 seats, an astonishing jump from 88 seats today, with an absolute majority in sight. The party of President Emmanuel Macron would also drop from around 246 MPs to 135.

In essence, voters would be abandoning quasi conservatives for the real deal, much as seems to be happening in the UK as Reform UK eats into the Conservative Party’s ever-decreasing vote share.

However, while in France the Left would be stuffed – the New Ecological and Social People’s Union (Nupes) would drop from 131 to 68 seats – thanks to first past the post Labour now has a disproportionate advantage while Reform’s astonishing jump in the polls is far less likely to translate into MPs than in countries with a fairer proportional representation system.

The nature of Britain’s outdated system for electing MPs was illustrated recently when the nationalist Chega party increased its share of the vote in the recent Portuguese general election, a result which translated into a proportionate number of MPs.

In the UK, by contrast, Reform’s success is being undermined by the UK’s voting system since not enough votes are stacking up in individual constituencies to translate into seats in the House of Commons. Indeed, many would-be Reform UK voters are likely put off by the risk of « splitting the Right-wing vote » and therefore are sticking with the Conservatives.

Of course, with a Tory government like this, who needs Labour?

In France, a victory for RN would be a political earthquake, setting up a potential presidential victory for Marine Le Pen, which would set off an even greater earthquake within the EU.

Already RN is set to make huge gains in upcoming European Parliamentary elections this summer, with nationalist and Eurosceptic parties expected to do well across the Continent.

Indeed, the fact the UK is set to elect a Left-wing government with a huge majority is running in the opposition direction to most Western countries, especially if Donald Trump wins November’s election in the US.

The French poll is the last thing Brussels needed to hear. Even its champion in Poland, Donald Tusk, is continuing anti-immigrant policies pursued by the former nationalist government, while in Hungary, Viktor Orban continues to face down the EU.

If the poll in France is even remotely correct, the EU could face an existential crisis far greater than anything posed by Hungary, Poland or conservative nationalist governments elsewhere in the bloc.

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