What is France's National Rally party and what does it stand for?

Marine Le Pen is president of National Rally in the lower house of the French parliament (AP)
Marine Le Pen is president of National Rally in the lower house of the French parliament (AP)

On Sunday June 30 the French people will vote in the first round of a snap parliamentary election called by the president, Emmanuel Macron.

He unexpectedly called the election on June 9 after his centrist Renaissance party suffered a poor result in elections for MEPs in the European Parliament earlier in June. The French president, who has been in office since 2017, declared that it was time for the nation to voice its opinions.

The decision was welcomed by the opposition party National Rally’s Marine Le Pen, who is viewed by many as the front-runner for the 2027 presidential election.

"We are ready to take power if the French people have confidence in us in these forthcoming legislative elections," she said.

"We are ready to put the country back on its feet."

But what is National Rally and how much power does it currently have?

What is National Rally?

The Right-wing nationalist and populist National Rally party has enjoyed increased support in recent years, like other Right-wing parties across Europe. It was known as the National Front until 2018 but Ms Le Pen rebranded in an attempt to soften the party's image and deflect long-standing accusations of racism and antisemitism.

The party was founded in 1972 by Ms Le Pen's father, Jean-Marie Le Pen as the Front National.

It has 88 MPs and is the largest opposition party. It aims to address the three primary issues it claims the French people are concerned about: crime, immigration and the cost of living.

National Rally has said it wants reforms to be made to how the EU is run but does not want to leave the union. In addition it wants immigration to France to be much reduced.

Even though National Rally has toned itself down recently, it is still regarded as a far-Right party whose rise to power would significantly alter Europe.

Who leads National Rally?

The 28-year-old Jordan Bardella has been the party’s president since 2022. Marine Le Pen is president of National Rally in the lower house of the French parliament, the National Assembly.

How much power does National Rally have?

Two days before the first round of voting in parliamentary elections on Sunday, an opinion poll that appeared in the newspaper Les Echos on Friday suggested that National Rally would receive as much as 37 per cent of the public vote.The poll, which was conducted by OpinionWay a week ago, showed that National Rally’s share had increased by two percentage points, while Macron's centrist alliance, Together, was predicted to receive 20 per cent of the popular vote – a decrease of two percentage points from the previous result.

In a different survey conducted by Elabe, BFM TV predicted that National Rally may win an absolute majority of more than 289 seats, putting the party and its allies at between 260 and 295 seats.

After a second round of voting on July 7, the final result will be decided. At this point, that is difficult to anticipate because it will mostly depend on how well National Rally's opponents coordinate and withdraw their own runoff candidates in order to obstruct the far Right.