June 24, 2024
Written by WID.world

The beginning of the end of tripartition? European elections and social inequalities in France, 1994-2024

The Rassemblent national came out clearly on top in the 2024 European elections in France. How do these results fit into the country’s electoral history? What do they tell us about the evolution of social and electoral cleavages in France?

Julia Cagé and Thomas Piketty analyze the structure of voting in European elections at the communal level observed in France over the last thirty years. This study complements Une histoire du conflit politique. Elections et inégalités sociales en France, 1789-2022 (Seuil, 2023), which examines the structure of social and electoral cleavages based on legislative, presidential and referendum ballots.

Main results :

  • Generally speaking, voting patterns in European elections have followed relatively similar patterns to those observed in legislative and presidential elections over the last thirty years. However, there have been several important recent inflections, particularly in the 2024 European ballot:
    • The fall of the central liberal bloc to less than 15% of the vote confirms the fragility of the tripartition system, linked to the very narrow and socially privileged social base of this electoral bloc.
    • A process of “embourgeoisement” of the liberal-national bloc (RN, LR, Reconquête), reinforcing the possibility of a right-left rebipolarization opposing a new form of union of the right (liberal-national bloc RN-LR-Reconquête) and union of the left (social-ecological bloc PS-PCF-LFI-EELV).
    • A deepening territorial divide between the right-wing bloc and the left-wing bloc.
  • Based on the historical experience of the 20th century, we can consider that the left-right rebipolarization scenario will only be fully realized if the social divide prevails much more clearly over the territorial divide, which requires the left-wing bloc to win back a significantly larger proportion of the working class electorate in towns and villages than it currently does.


  • Julia Cagé, Sciences Po, WIL Fellow
  • Thomas Piketty, Paris School of Economics, EHESS, WIL co-director



  • Alice Fauvel, Communications Manager, alice.fauvel[at]psemail.eu, +33(0)763918168