France’s Far Right Leads First Round of Parliamentary Elections, and Other Headlines of the Day

France’s Far Right Leads First Round of Parliamentary Elections, and Other Headlines of the Day

The Daily News Brief

July 1, 2024 11:43 am (EST)

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Current political and economic issues succinctly explained.

Welcome to today’s edition of the Daily News Brief, CFR’s flagship morning newsletter summarizing the top global news and analysis of the day. Written by Catherine Osborn and edited by Mariel Ferragamo, with support from Diana Roy.

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Top of the Agenda

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France

The far-right National Rally party surged ahead in the first round of parliamentary elections yesterday to secure around 33 percent of votes, while a left-wing alliance received 28 percent and President Emmanuel Macron’s centrists trailed behind at roughly 22 percent. The results triggered an unprecedented hundreds of runoffs slated for this Sunday, which could block Marine Le Pen’s National Rally from forming a government if it does not earn an absolute majority. Macron called the snap elections a referendum on the far right’s influence in France last month, and called yesterday for “a large, clearly democratic and republican rally for the second round.” An absolute National Rally legislative majority would allow the party to name a prime minister while Macron remains president.

Centrist and leftist parties are strategizing ahead of the runoff, with a deadline tomorrow to decide whether candidates will drop out. The far-right surge in France comes as other far-right candidates take up more of the global stage; under Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, Hungary assumed the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union today. (FT, Le Monde)

ANALYSIS

“Macron’s move is shaping up to be a rather irresponsible gamble that could plunge France into political, social, and economic turmoil, with repercussions across Europe,” CFR Senior Fellow Matthias Matthijs writes in this Expert Brief. “The fact that France could be facing prolonged governmental gridlock is very bad news for the Franco-German engine of European integration, and hence bad for Europe’s future.”


“Portraying a party as so outside a community’s political norms that it can never be allowed near power can backfire. It reinforces its voters’ sense that traditional elites treat them with contempt and neglect—part of what attracts people to protest movements in the first place,” the Financial Times’ Martin Sandbu writes.

Pacific Rim

New Chinese Rule Says Rare Earth Metals Belong to the State

The government published a regulation Saturday that says the entire rare earth supply chain, including mining, processing, distribution, and export, will belong to Beijing starting in October. Around 70 percent of the world’s rare earth production came from China last year, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. This is the latest in a series of Beijing’s rules to restrict access to the metals, which are a component of industrial and green energy technologies. (Nikkei)

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France

CFR Fellow Zongyuan Zoe Liu testified to the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission on China’s resource stockpiling.

Japan: Tokyo’s space agency launched a hydrogen rocket into orbit today that was carrying an earth observation satellite. It marks the rocket’s second successful launch after another send-off in February. This brings Japan closer to its goals of making the spacecraft a commercial launch vehicle. (Nikkei)

South and Central Asia

Taliban Attends UN Meeting on Afghanistan, Womens’ Groups Left Out of the Conversation

Envoys from some two dozen nations are attending the two-day UN talks ending today in Doha on Afghanistan’s humanitarian and political situation. This is the first such gathering also attended by Taliban representatives since the group took over in 2021. Taliban envoys pressed for deeper access to the international financial system and a lifting of banking sanctions, while other countries voiced concerns about the presence of extremist groups and treatment of women. The Taliban rebuffed any talk on women; Afghan womens’ groups were excluded from the meeting and are due to meet with global envoys tomorrow. (VOA, RFE/RL)

India: Three new criminal laws to replace parts of a colonial-era criminal justice code come into effect today. They aim to expedite trial judgements, redefine terrorism, and introduce new procedures for crimes against women and children, among other measures. (Economic Times

Middle East and North Africa

Iranians to Vote in Presidential Runoff Between Reformist, Hardline Candidates

Reformist Masoud Pezeshkian won 43 percent of votes in the first-round presidential election last week, with a narrow edge over conservative candidate Saeed Jalili, who gained 39 percent. Two other hardline candidates were knocked out of the race, which will go to a runoff on Friday. Pezeshkian supports more engagement with Western countries, while Jalili upholds Iran’s status quo leaning against such global cooperation. (WSJ)

This Expert Brief by CFR Senior Fellow Ray Takeyh gives a rundown of whether this election could bring change to Iran

Israel/Palestinian territories: Envoys from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the European Union criticized a statement by Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich that Israel plans to officially recognize five unauthorized West Bank settlements. Smotrich also said Israel will release tax funds to the Palestinian Authority that had been frozen since October 7. The Israeli Prime Minister’s office did not immediately comment on Smotrich’s statement. (CNN)

Sub-Saharan Africa

Northern Nigeria Suicide Bombings Kill at Least Eighteen People

The apparently coordinated attacks targeted a wedding, funeral, and hospital yesterday, leaving at least eighteen people dead, officials said. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks, which took place in an area historically plagued by the Boko Haram extremist group. (AP)

South Africa: Members of six opposition parties will serve in the new cabinet of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s unity government that was announced late yesterday. They include members of the center-right Democratic Alliance party, which will lead the agriculture, education, public works, and home affairs ministries. The Inkatha Freedom Party will control the ministry of cooperative governance and traditional affairs, and Freedom Front Plus will look over correctional services. (Mail & Guardian)

For the Africa in Transition blog, CFR expert Michelle Gavin predicts whether the coalition will bring about a new era or another difficult slog

Europe

Russia Carries Out Air Attacks on Kyiv, Kharkiv

A guided bomb killed one person in Kharkiv yesterday, while fragments of a missile damaged an apartment building in Kyiv, officials said. Ukraine’s electricity provider warned that blackouts could break out today as Russia continues to barrage Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. (Reuters, RFE/RL)

Americas

Colombian Rebel Group Agrees to Cease-Fire in Talks With Government

Segunda Marquetalia agreed to a cease-fire and to release its captives, while the government pledged to de-escalate offensive military operations, according to a joint statement by both groups over the weekend. The government’s change in posture is due to be made official in a presidential decree at an unspecified date. President Gustavo Petro has ambitiously sought to quell conflict between various armed groups; this marks his administration’s third set of major peace talks. (AFP)

Uruguay: Political coalitions held presidential primaries yesterday ahead of October elections. The latest opinion polls slightly favor the left-wing opposition, with public safety and growing inequality top of voters’ minds. Center-right President Luis Lacalle Pou cannot immediately run again because he has hit his term limits. (Reuters)

United States

Supreme Court to Rule on Trump’s Immunity From 2020 Election Claims

The court is expected to rule today on whether former President Donald Trump can claim immunity from prosecutors’ charges that he acted in efforts to overturn the 2020 U.S. election. Trump was indicted on four counts related to these efforts, and lower courts rejected his broad claim of immunity, prompting appeals that reached the Supreme Court. (NBC)

CFR’s 2024 election hub follows the foreign policy implications for Washington’s place in the world

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