Candidates in crucial French parliamentary elections take final step in intense campaign ahead of vote


PARIS (AP) — Candidates for the French crucial and polarizing parliamentary elections made their final attempts on Friday for the second and decisive round of voting after a three-week campaign marked by hate speech, verbal abuse and physical attacks.

French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said his ministry had recorded 51 verbal and physical attacks against candidates, their deputies or their supporters during the campaign for the high stakes parliamentary elections which will end with the second round of voting on Sunday. Several attacks were “extremely serious,” Darmanin said in an interview with French broadcaster BFM on Friday.

At least 30 suspects “from very diverse backgrounds” have been arrested, the interior minister said, adding that candidates and their supporters from across the French political spectrum have been the target of verbal and physical violence.

“The Rassemblement National candidates were violently attacked… (as were) left-wing candidates,” Darmanin said.

Tensions are running high as left-wing and moderate groups try to anti-immigration, nationalist National Rally of obtaining an absolute legislative majority, which would be a first and a major historic change for France.

The National Rally, under party chairman Jordan Bardellawon the most votes in the first round of the June 30 parliamentary elections, but not enough to secure an outright victory and thus enable the formation of the first far-right government in France since World War II.

Darmanin said 30,000 police officers would be deployed on Sunday, including 5,000 in the Paris region, to ensure the election results “are respected, whatever they may be.” He said gatherings outside the National Assembly, the lower house of parliament, were banned.

A group called Anti-Fascist Action Paris-Suburbs has called for a protest outside the National Assembly on Sunday evening as the results come in.

Many people have expressed concern that growing voter support for the anti-immigration National Rally has made people more comfortable using the party. racist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic language in public.

The government agency that tracks racist acts had no recent data since the short campaign began.

Candidates have complained about both hate speech and physical violence during the campaign.

Government spokeswoman Prisca Thevenot, who is running for the centrist Ensemble alliance led by President Emmanuel Macron, said she and a deputy and a party activist were putting up election posters in Meudon, near Paris, on Wednesday night when a mob attacked them. Thevenot’s deputy and the party activist were taken to hospital.

Macron called surprise parliamentary elections on June 9 after his alliance suffered a heavy defeat to France’s Rassemblement National in the European Parliament vote, plunging the country into a sudden legislative campaign.


Follow AP’s coverage of global elections at

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top