Left-Wing and Centrists Triumph in France, and Other Headlines of the Day

Left-Wing and Centrists Triumph in France, and Other Headlines of the Day

The Daily News Brief

July 8, 2024 10:51 am (EST)

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Current political and economic issues succinctly explained.

Welcome back 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

Left-Wing Alliance, Centrists to Outnumber Far Right in French Parliament

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Iran

An alliance of left-leaning parties won the most seats in parliamentary runoff elections yesterday, a surprising finish after a first-round victory by France’s far right. The fragmented nature of the results, however, suggests legislative gridlock could still be ahead. President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist coalition won the second-most seats, while Marine Le Pen’s right-wing National Rally party came in third. Yesterday’s outcome was the result of coordinated efforts by left and centrist parties to withdraw some candidates in the interim in order to block the possibility of a National Rally government.

Macron called the elections as a referendum on the far right’s influence in France, though he did not immediately issue a statement after yesterday’s results. While his prime minister, Gabriel Attal, offered his resignation today, Macron did not accept it; the presidential palace cited the need for stability. Paris is due to host the Summer Olympics later this month, heightening the pressure on France’s leadership. (FT, Le Monde)

ANALYSIS

“Voters have returned a badly hung parliament, and France is now set for a period of uncertainty and political maneuvering as the country tries to learn how to act as many other European countries already do, and forge a majority coalition,” the Economist writes.

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“The far right’s threat to liberal democracy and European integration remains real, and with it the [European Union’s] support for Ukraine, climate action and for a liberal world order. Yet the damage is contained, and may eventually be deflated if not defeated. Last night was not a good night for [Russian President] Vladimir Putin,” The Guardian’s Nathalie Tocci writes.

In this Expert Brief, CFR Senior Fellow Matthias Matthijs discusses why France’s elections are pivotal for Europe.

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France

Iran

Middle East and North Africa

Reformist Wins Iranian Presidential Election

Masoud Pezeshkian triumphed in Friday’s runoff election by around a 10 percent margin above his competitor, the interior ministry said. Pezeshkian contrasts his predecessor’s views, calling for a return to a nuclear deal with Western countries and pledging to pursue peace in the region. He was the only reformist allowed to run by Iran’s Guardian Council. (AFP, WaPo)

This CFR article gives a rundown of Iran’s complicated governance structure

Israel/Palestinian territories: Demonstrators across Israel called for a cease-fire deal in the country’s war against Hamas as it hit the nine-month mark yesterday. Israeli negotiators will resume talks this week on a potential deal, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said, though “there are still gaps between the parties.” (Times of Israel, AP)

Pacific Rim

Japan, Philippines Sign Defense Pact Allowing for Troop Exchanges

The Philippines is the first Asian country to sign a Reciprocal Access Agreement for troop deployments with Japan as the two countries position against what they see as growing Chinese aggression. Japan has made similar deals with Australia and the United Kingdom (UK). (Philippine Star)

China/Hungary: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán discussed the war in Ukraine with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing today. Orbán posted ahead of the visit that China is “a key power in creating the conditions for peace.” Orbán visited Ukraine and Russia last week and will attend a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit in Washington tomorrow. European leaders, including European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, chided Orbán’s visit to Moscow, saying “appeasement will not stop” Russian President Putin. (CNN)

South and Central Asia

India’s Modi Visits Moscow for First Time Since Russia Invaded Ukraine

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi begins two days of talks with Putin in Moscow today that are slated to focus on all aspects of the countries’ bilateral relationship, including energy, security, and trade. Trade between the two reached an all-time high in the 2023–2024 fiscal year, according to Indian government figures. Modi last met with Putin on the sidelines of the 2022 Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit, an event that Modi skipped this year. (Nikkei)

Afghanistan/Pakistan: The top UN official on refugees is meeting with Pakistani officials in Islamabad today about the status of Afghan refugees in the country. It is Filippo Grandi’s first visit to Pakistan since the government announced a deportation drive of “illegal foreigners” last October. According to Amnesty International, Pakistan has expelled hundreds of thousands of Afghans since, and its detentions and deportations have lacked “transparency, due process, and accountability.” (Dawn, Amnesty International)

This In Brief by Megan Fahrney explains why Pakistan is deporting Afghan migrants.

Sub-Saharan Africa

Junta-Led Sahel States Announce Confederation, Heightening Rift With ECOWAS

Omar Touray, president of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, said yesterday the bloc’s benefits of freedom of movement and a common market were under threat after junta-led Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger announced the previous day that they were forming their own economic cooperation bloc. The announcement deepens the three countries’ rift with ECOWAS. It was not immediately clear how ECOWAS would respond, though Touray said the move could result in the suspension of some $500 million in funding for economic projects. (Reuters)

This In Brief by Reina Patel and CFR expert Ebenezer Obadare details why the ECOWAS split spells trouble

Rwanda/UK: New UK Prime Minister Keir Starmer said in his first press conference on Saturday the previous government’s plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda is “dead and buried.” Some fifty-two thousand migrants had been earmarked for deportation under the plan, which was hampered by legal challenges. (BBC)

Europe

Russian Attacks Across Ukraine Kill Dozens, Target Children’s Hospital

At least thirty-three people were killed and dozens injured in missile attacks across the country today. The barrage damaged the largest pediatrics hospital in Kyiv, where at least two people died and several were trapped under rubble. The city’s mayor said it was “one of the worst attacks” on the capital in the entirety of the war. (BBC)

Americas

Argentina’s Milei Skips Presidential Summit of Mercosur Customs Union

President Javier Milei is sitting out the leaders’ summit today of the Mercosur customs union, from which he has threatened to pull Argentina. Yesterday, he attended a summit of the Latin American far right in Brazil, which also featured former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. (AP)

This Backgrounder unpacks the fractious trade bloc

Mexico/Caribbean: Hurricane Beryl, the earliest category 5 hurricane on record, caused flooding in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula on Friday, while its death toll in several Caribbean islands rose to at least eleven, officials said. It hit southeast Texas early this morning. (BBC, Reuters)

U.S. Campaign 2024

Trump Distances Himself From Conservative Policy Agenda Project 2025

Former President Donald Trump posted Friday on his social media platform Truth Social that he disagrees with many proposals in Project 2025, a conservative blueprint to overhaul the government. Among other measures, it calls for reducing the power of federal agencies, ending the legal status of Dreamers, and removing some requirements that insurance cover certain types of emergency contraception. “I have nothing to do with them,” he added, calling some of the proposals “absolutely ridiculous and abysmal.” The project is staffed by some prominent members of his former administration. (Bloomberg)

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