French Assemblée Nationale

On 7 July, France’s runoff elections blocked the National Rally’s (RN) far-right takeover of the government but left a hung parliament. In our view, the outcome will influence the dynamic with West Africa in three main ways. 

  1. France Will Struggle to Project Influence Abroad

France’s attention is turned inward. It will not have much ability to pursue ambitious foreign policy goals, including regaining the influence it has recently lost in the Sahel. Recent military coups in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger have installed anti-French leaders who are quickly turning to Russia for support. France’s domestic distractions will hinder its ability to combat this shift. However, France’s decreasing influence may actually help stabilize the dynamic between Algeria and Morocco regarding the independence of Western Sahara. 

  1. The Right’s Loss & Key International Partners

The RN’s anti-immigrant sentiments had Cameroon, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire or Libya hoping a victory would mean more funds to block illegal migration to Europe. Egypt, Mauritania and Tunisia signed similar hundred-million-dollar deals with the EU in 2023. However, leftist leaders, like Senegalese President Diomaye Daye, would have struggled to get along with a right-wing French government. Algeria is likely pleased: The RN’s predecessors opposed its independence from France, and RN founder Jean-Marie Le Pen allegedly tortured Algerian detainees during his time in the army.

  1. France Won’t Change EU Climate Policies

France has been central in shaping the EU’s energy policy, attempting to balance energy security and climate protection goals. An RN government would have slashed funding for green energy goals. While the EU’s decisions to cut funding for oil and gas while imposing carbon-adjustment mechanisms have opened a can of worms, African partners can expect more funding for green energy projects.

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