||PARIS — In the aftermath of last weekend's elections for the European Parliament, the political landscape here in France and across the continent has shifted, experts say, with the surprising showing of the Green parties here and in other countries symbolic of a public turning away from traditional centrist political parties.The far-right Take Power party narrowly edged out the centrist Renaissance party in the E.U. elections, with 23.3% versus 22.4% of votes. Those parties are aligned with Marine Le Pen's National Rally (RN) and President Emmanuel Macron's La République en Marche (LREM) political parties, respectively.Brexit Forces Political Recalculations
Most polls anticipated the votes for the RN and other far-right parties throughout Europe, says Gilles Ivaldi, a political scientist and researcher who specializes in far-right politics at the University of Nice's Migration and Society Research Unit.
In fact, the RN performed slightly better in 2014, when it drew 25% of votes. But the weekend results show that the RN has established itself as one of the two dominant major political parties in France.
"In the past, people said that RN votes were high because there wasn't a lot of participation. But that argument doesn't work anymore," says Etienne Jacob, a political journalist with the Le Figaro newspaper. Just over 50% of French voters participated in the EU elections this year — significantly lower than the nearly 3 in 4 eligible voters who participated in the 2017 French presidential election, but an increase from 42% in the 2014 EU elections.
Such a voter endorsement may impact climate change policies in France and throughout Europe, which could in turn risk inciting and re-energizing the populist Yellow Vest movement, political observers here say.
Already, pundits have noted that the election results are evidence of an increasingly divided France. However, voter turnout in the country for the European Union elections was the highest in 24 years — evidence of a growing understanding that the European Parliament plays an important role in people's daily lives, say analysts.