Conservatives in France suffered defeat in the final round of national elections, despite winning the highest percentage of the popular vote.

In last week’s first round of voting, the conservative National Rally party led the far-left New Popular Front and the establishment moderates Ensemble by wide margins, prompting the NFP and Ensemble to form a tacit alliance. On Sunday, that alliance paid off.

NFP took a total of over 180 seats; although far from a majority (289 out of 577 seats), it is the most seats garnered by any party or coalition this week. Ensemble, the coalition led by left-of-center French President Emmanuel Macron, placed second with nearly 170 seats, and RN was relegated to third place with 143 seats.

Over the course of the prior week, Ensemble had candidates resign in jurisdictions where RN was performing well, in an effort not to split the vote against the conservative party; NFP did likewise in some cases.

In total, over 200 candidates dropped out of the race—mostly at the behest of Macron—in an effort to block conservatives from winning a majority of seats in the French legislature.

RN leader Jordan Bardella called the move an “alliance of dishonor,” reminding voters that NFP is a radical coalition that “comes to the aid of a violent far-left movement, which calls for insurrection, feeds an antisemitism atmosphere since Oct. 7, never has words to condemn the atrocities of Hamas, and wants against all odds to organize disorder in French society.”

According to the French Interior Ministry, RN earned more votes—over eight-and-a-half million—than either of its opponents. NFP won roughly 7 million votes and Ensemble barely scraped past 6 million. But because of the backroom deal struck by NFP and Ensemble, the two coalitions were able to edge out RN in the majority of electoral jurisdictions.

However, both NFP and Ensemble are coalitions comprised of smaller allied parties united in power-sharing agreements, making RN the largest single party in the French legislature. Former RN leader and presidential candidate Marine Le Pen boasted of the party’s rapid growth, noting, “Two years ago we had just seven MPs.”

In comments to The Washington Stand, FRC Action Director Matt Carpenter explained what American conservatives can learn from Sunday’s election results.

“The stunning victory of the French Left in the second round of elections should serve as a reminder for the GOP about the Left’s ability to circle the wagons when they feel their agenda is under existential threat,” Carpenter said. “Though the right wing in France won a historic victory just weeks ago, the Left was able to quickly rally their people and blunt the advance of Marine Le Pen’s coalition.”

He continued, “The GOP would do well to take this lesson to heart: Elections are marathons now. It’s important to finish strong. In 2022, many forecasted a red wave would sweep the nation, and it only really materialized in Florida—mostly because many campaigns neglected to bank early votes and failed to respond to the pro-abortion attacks of the Left.”

Despite the victory of the far-left coalition, leftist agitators still rioted on Sunday night. According to French news outlet Le Figaro, the French government mobilized over 30,000 police officers on Saturday night, anticipating leftist riots if RN did manage to win.

While the conservative party placed third, mobs waving Antifa flags and Palestinian flags still took to the streets in Paris, Rennes, Lyon, Marseilles, and other cities, setting fire to vehicles and street furniture and aiming fireworks at police. Fox News reports that Molotov cocktails and smoke bombs were also used.

Originally published by The Washington Stand