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Africans React To French Elections With Pragmatism And Frustration

THE National Rally’s triumph in France’s early legislative elections on Sunday has stirred reactions worldwide, especially among African immigrants in France. Analysts suggest that if France continues to lean towards the far right, Africa must reassess its own strategic decisions.

The far-right, anti-immigration National Rally (RN) has laid out its policy priorities, which include restoring order in France, curbing immigration, and addressing the cost-of-living crisis. Party leader Jordan Bardella has consistently emphasised tightening borders and making it more difficult for foreigners born on French soil to gain citizenship. He also reiterated plans to ban dual nationals from holding high-level public jobs.


These measures have sparked anxiety among the African population in France, who predominantly live in major cities where support for the far right is weaker.

Marc Ona Essangui, a notable figure in Gabonese civil society and the third vice-president of the Gabonese Senate, shared his perspective with French broadcaster RFI. He expressed doubts about the RN’s ability to implement its immigration policies. ‘These are populist speeches to get elected,’ Essangui said. ‘The French have expressed their desire for change. This is a sovereign expression that must be respected. If the National Rally is leading today, it means the French believe they should.’

Essangui stressed that Africans should not be overly concerned about France’s internal politics. ‘France belongs to the French, and each country must define its policy,’ he stated. He added that African nations need to focus on creating self-sustaining structures and utilising their resources to avoid dependence on foreign powers.

Among French dual nationals, reactions were more critical. Farah Abdessamad, a French-Tunisian writer and consultant, recounted her experiences of racism and exclusion. ‘I grew up in a society that considered North Africans undesirable,’ she told RFI English. Abdessamad believes the far right’s targeting of dual nationals continues a legacy of stigmatisation from the colonial era.

Guinean-French artist Nu Barreto, who has resided in France for over 25 years, voiced similar concerns. ‘We must fight against this dark ideology; we believe in equality,’ he told RFI English.

The RN, led by Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella, secured 33.15 percent of the vote, outpacing the left-wing New Popular Front (NFP) alliance with 28.14 percent and President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist Ensemble coalition with 20.76 percent. The RN and its allies garnered approximately 9.3 million votes, more than doubling their count from the previous legislative elections in 2022.

The victory of the National Rally has prompted widespread concern and debate, particularly among African immigrants and dual nationals in France. The broader implications of these election results are being felt both nationally and internationally, raising questions about the future direction of French politics and its impact on global communities.

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