CNEF calls on French evangelicals to “refuse hatred” as second voting round looms for Assemblée Nationale election

By Chris Eyte |
 CNEF calls on French evangelicals to “refuse hatred” as second voting round looms for Assemblée Nationale election
French evangelicals have called for peace after President Macron (pictured) called the surprise two-round snap election | elysee.fr screenshot

Turbulent political times in France led an influential evangelical body to plead for peace after the swing to the far-right in the first round of a national election for the Assemblée Nationale (National Assembly).

As France gears up for the second round of the controversial snap election this Sunday (July 7), the National Council of French Evangelicals (CNEF) issued a press release last Thursday (June 27) calling for the wider Church to demonstrate that a more harmonious society is possible through its example of “being, living, praying and committing itself.” 

Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally party swept up 33 percent of the popular vote on Sunday (June 30) – way ahead of President Emmanuel Macron’s Together coalition, including his Renaissance party, on 21 percent. The leftwing New Popular Front alliance was also ahead of Macron’s group, with 28 percent of votes. 

Macron called the surprise election after his party suffered a defeat with only 15 percent of the vote share, compared to Le Pen’s party on 32 percent and the Socialists on 14 percent, at the European Parliament elections earlier in June. 

The political fallout has led to protests in the streets with thousands gathering at the Place de La Republique to make a stand against the far-right after its voting success.

CNEF called the initial European elections “an electroshock, reflecting a society that is suffering, tense and divided.” The evangelical body also stated that the decision by Macron to dissolve the National Assembly suddenly for the snap two-round election stoked an “acceleration of these fears.”

“It could feed, in the emergency, the temptation of a vote that obeys the sad passions of withdrawal, anger, or even human promises of brighter tomorrows,” stated the CNEF in the press release. 

A similar message was relayed about the national assembly elections, with CNEF calling for evangelicals to “seek in a demanding, constructive, and peaceful manner to build a society together".  Voters were encouraged to “refuse postures of hatred, invective and rejection".

Erwan Cloarec, CNEF President, called on Christians to pray at this time for France and the elections.

“Politics cannot do everything,” said Cloarec. “Evangelical Protestants know this: they place their ultimate hope in God and stand in expectation of a Kingdom of peace to come. But, carried by their faith, they act according to their hope to be, in today's society, ferments of peace, seeds of life, actors of reconciliation and hospitality.”

France Mission, a missions organization focused on the country, which is based in Exeter, England, also expressed concern about the two-round elections in a Facebook post on Thursday.

“The debates are very tense, and tensions are rising. France needs our prayers more than ever,” said France Mission in the post.

“Pray for all candidates to be granted wisdom and integrity, making decisions that reflect justice, peace, and the common good; for a smooth and peaceful election process, free from violence, fraud, and corruption, allowing every vote to be counted fairly; for unity and healing across France, that the elections will unite the nation and pave the way for collaborative solutions to the country's challenges.”