France heads to the polls in July for a snap election, and opinion polls predict President Emmanuel Macron’s party is trailing.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has said he is “concerned” about the prospect of a victory for the far right in France’s upcoming parliamentary elections.

President Emmanuel Macron’s party is trailing badly with less than two weeks to go before the first round of the snap elections he called in response to the far-right drubbing that his party received in European polls.

Germany’s far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party also made gains in this month’s European Parliament elections, while Scholz’s ruling coalition suffered.

“I am concerned about the elections in France,” Scholz told public broadcaster ARD in an annual summer interview.

“And I hope that parties that are not [Marine] Le Pen, to put it that way, are successful in the election. But that is for the French people to decide,” he added.

Widespread protests in France

Since President Macron called for the elections, thousands have marched in demonstrations across France against the far right.

On Saturday, protesters wearing violet marched from the Place de la Republique square in central Paris to Place de la Nation in the east, bearing signs with messages such as “Push back the far right, not our rights”.

With the National Rally (RN) polling at around 35 percent, protesters feel the need to emphasise the consequences of a far-right victory.

“We have to remind people that they’re the ones who talked about ‘comfort abortions’, who are always attacking family-planning services,” Morgane Legras, a nuclear engineer and feminist activist taking part in the thousands-strong march in Paris, told AFP.

Other rallies took place in around 50 other cities across France.

The country’s two-round election system makes it difficult to predict which party could ultimately claim a majority in the lower house of parliament, handing that party the prime minister’s post, which is second in power to President Emmanuel Macron.

Opinion polls have forecast Macron’s ruling alliance would come third in the legislative elections on June 30 – followed by a second round on July 7 – behind Le Pen’s far-right RN and a new left-wing alliance.

The RN has garnered unprecedented levels of support after a decades-long “de-demonisation” push to distance its image from its roots, including a co-founder who was a member of the Nazi Waffen-SS paramilitary.

But the core of the RN’s message remains hostility to immigration, Islam and the European Union.

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