France could be on the brink of electing a hard-right government for the first time since the Second World War, after Marine Le Pen won the first round of the country’s parliamentary elections last night.

Following Sunday’s snap election – which recorded the highest voter turnout in 40 years – Le Pen’s anti-immigration National Rally (RN) has emerged as the biggest party by quite some margin, securing over 33.4 per cent of the vote.

The vote was called unexpectedly by President Macron last month after his centrist alliance was trounced by the RN in the European Parliament elections. His hope that the EU election served as a protest vote for the French – and results wouldn’t be replicated on a national level – has proven naive. Macron’s Ensemble alliance has once again endured punishing losses at the hands of the electorate, coming in third with 20.7 per cent of the vote.

Firmly in second place – with 27.9 of vote – is the leftist New Popular Front bloc, a heterogeneous coalition of socialists, spearheaded by hard-left France Unbowed leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon, an unapologetic Marxist.

So much for elections being won from the centre.