French And British Politics Experts Discuss What Their Election Results Mean For The Right Podcast

Author: Gemma Ware

(MENAFN- The Conversation) A few days after Labour leader Keir Starmer was elected British prime Minister on July 4 with a landslide victory, ending 14 years of Conservative-led rule, a coalition of left-wing parties came out on top in the French legislative elections. It was a good week for the left in this corner of Europe.

The French result, which came despite many polls predicting the far-right Rassemblement National (RN) would emerge with the most seats, ushered in an unprecedented period of Political uncertainty in France.

In this episode of The Conversation Weekly podcast, we've brought together an expert from each country to help analyse the results and what they tell us about the right in French and British politics.

In the UK, much analysis on election night said it was more the case that the Conservative party lost the election, rather than that Labour won it. The Conservatives went from having 344 seats when parliament was dissolved in May, to 121 seats – its lowest number in history.

For Tim Bale, professor of politics at Queen Mary University of London, and an expert in the Conservative party, the result was“very much an anti-incumbency vote ... and to some extent, they were the authors of their own misfortune”.

Bale says this had two effects. First, it put off a lot of voters who would otherwise have voted Conservative, and second, it pushed voters towards the Reform UK party of Nigel Farage, which won 14% of the overall vote.

Labour leader Keir Starmer and his wife Victoria arrive at Downing Street after his election victory. UPI / Alamy Stock Photo

After coming first in the first round of the French legislative elections with 33% of the vote, the RN is now discussing what went wrong in the second round. The party's leader, Jordan Bardella, called the“republican front” of the left and centre parties, which withdrew more than 220 candidates between the two rounds to act as a tactical block against the far-right, an “unnatural political alliance” . Bardella also acknowledged there were problems with some of the party's candidates, who it emerged had expressed racist or xenophobic views .

But for Safia Dahani, a postdoctoral researcher at the Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne in France who is an expert in the political sociology of the RN, the result is not really a failure for the RN and Marine Le Pen, its presidential candidate.

Dahani says:“It's surprising that the media were surprised to find those candidates within the party.” And she questions the way some journalists and academics have tried to analyse the party in recent years, saying it was like any others, and calling it a populist or radical right party, rather than a far right party.

To listen to Tim Bale and Safia Dahani's analysis of the results, and what might happen next, subscribe to The Conversation Weekly podcast.

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A transcript of this episode is available on Apple Podcasts .

Newsclips in this episode from Australia Community Media , BBC News , Ana Sánchez via Twitter , Agence France Press , AFP News Agency and France 24 English .

This episode of The Conversation Weekly was written and produced by Katie Flood. Sound design was by Eloise Stevens, and our theme music is by Neeta Sarl. Stephen Khan is our global executive editor.

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