French Right Struggles to Unite Against Macron

Both the center-right Republicans and the far-right National Front are riven with divisions.

French Republican leader Laurent Wauquiez attends a memorial ceremony in Colombey-les-Deux-Églises, November 9
French Republican leader Laurent Wauquiez attends a memorial ceremony in Colombey-les-Deux-Églises, November 9 (Facebook)

France’s two right-wing parties are struggling to remain united in the era of Emmanuel Macron.

  • Lawmakers friendly to the president have split from the center-right Republicans to form a new party, Agir (Act).
  • Prominent Republicans, like Bruno Le Maire and Édouard Philippe, have joined Macron’s government.
  • More centrists are expected to defect if the hardliner Laurent Wauquiez prevails in a party leadership vote next month.
  • The far right is also divided: Marine Le Pen’s former right-hand man, Florian Philippot, has created a new party to appeal to blue-collar workers in the rust belt of northern France while the rest of the National Front is focused on its heartland in the socially conservative southeast.

Macron’s project, which merges traditionally left- and right-wing economic and social policies, has also split the center-left Socialist Party. Moderate leftists have joined the president’s party, La République En Marche! Jean-Luc Mélenchon, a former communist, has consolidated the far left in a new group, called France Unbowed.