2019 European Parliament election in France
The 2019 European Parliament election in France were held on 26 May 2019 (and on 25 May in parts of overseas France and for some nationals abroad), electing members of the 9th French delegation to the European Parliament as part of the elections held across the European Union. The election featured two major changes since the 2014 election: the return to a single national constituency and the increase in the number of French seats from 74 to 79 upon the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union. Officially, 79 MEPs were considered to have been elected, including five "virtual" MEPs who did not take their seats until the UK formally left the EU. The election featured 34 separate electoral lists, a record number at the national level.
It was the first national election in France since the election of Emmanuel Macron as president and therefore his first major electoral test, taking place amid dismal approval ratings. For his party, Nathalie Loiseau led the Renaissance list of La République En Marche!, Democratic Movement (MoDem), Agir, and the Radical Movement which ultimately arrived in second with 22.42% of the vote, behind the National Rally (RN) list led by the 23-year-old Jordan Bardella which received 23.34% of the vote, with a lower vote percentage but more overall votes than its 2014 result.
Turnout, at just over 50%, was the highest since the 1994 elections. Led by Yannick Jadot, Europe Ecology – The Greens (EELV) managed a surprise third-place finish with 13.48% of the vote, short of its score in the 2009 elections in which it also achieved a surprise result. At the same time, the list of The Republicans (LR) led by the 33-year-old Catholic philosopher François-Xavier Bellamy ended up with a historically poor result of just 8.48% of the vote and the loss of 12 MEPs despite expectations of a strong electoral dynamic created by Bellamy's selection as the party's lead candidate. Similarly, the results were also a significant disappointment for Jean-Luc Mélenchon's La France Insoumise, which fell far short of both its presidential and legislative results in 2017 with only 6.31% of the vote, narrowly ahead of the joint list between the Socialist Party (PS), Place Publique, and New Deal led by Raphaël Glucksmann (the first time in its history the PS did not lead an autonomous list), which managed to remain in the European Parliament with its score of 6.19% of the vote, slightly above the 5% threshold needed for seats.
Numerous other lists fell short of the 5% threshold, including Nicolas Dupont-Aignan's Debout la France (DLF) and Benoît Hamon's Génération.s, the scores of which (both slightly above 3%) nevertheless allow their campaign expenses to be compensated by the state. The two were closely followed by the centre-right Union of Democrats and Independents (UDI) led by Jean-Christophe Lagarde and the French Communist Party (PCF) led by Ian Brossat. The recently founded Animalist Party, an animal rights party, also created a small surprise with its score of 2.16%, comparable to some of the more prominent lists, despite its limited presence in the campaign. The only two notable pro-Frexit parties received 1.82% of the vote combined. Other lists included Urgence Écologie, consisting of several small green parties, led by Dominique Bourg (garnering 1.82% of the vote); Lutte Ouvrière with 0.78% of the vote; and a list of gilets jaunes which collected 0.54% of the vote.