On Tuesday, opponents of France's National Rally (RN) intensified their efforts to prevent the far-right party from gaining power. Over 180 candidates have announced they will withdraw from the upcoming run-off election to avoid dividing the anti-RN vote, according to local media estimates. Others have until 6pm to decide. RN, led by Marine Le Pen, performed strongly in the first-round vote, while President Emmanuel Macron's centrist camp finished third.

Despite the recent maneuvers to form a 'republican front' against the anti-immigrant, eurosceptic party, it remains uncertain whether RN can secure the 289 seats needed for a majority. Pollsters initially projected RN to win between 250-300 seats, but this was before the strategic withdrawals and cross-party appeals for voters to support the strongest candidate against RN.

The RN opposes further EU integration and plans to reduce EU funding. Human rights groups are concerned about its 'France first' and anti-migrant policies affecting ethnic minorities, and economists question the funding of its substantial spending plans. Financial markets reacted positively to the far right's moderate performance, but concerns remain over potential policy paralysis due to a hung parliament.

There was confusion about whether Macron's allies would withdraw in favor of better-placed candidates from the radical left-wing France Unbowed (LFI) party. However, Macron emphasized the priority of blocking RN from power, indicating support for LFI candidates if necessary. The 'republican front' has succeeded in the past, but it is unclear if voters will follow political leaders' guidance.

Le Pen reiterated that RN would not attempt to form a government without a workable majority. Various proposals have been made for proceeding if no group achieves a majority, including ad hoc alliances among mainstream parties to pass legislation. Xavier Bertrand called for a 'provisional government' until the next presidential election. Le Pen criticized potential key public sector appointments by Macron, calling it an 'administrative coup' if aimed at blocking RN's policies.