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In Europe
June 10, 2024

AFP

France’s Macron calls snap legislative elections after EU poll blow

French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday announced he was dissolving parliament and called snap legislative elections after the far-right trounced his centrist alliance in EU polls.The first round of elections for the lower house National Assembly will take place on June 30, with the second round on July 7, Macron announced in an address to the nation.The outcome of the EU elections, he acknowledged, is “not a good result for parties who defend Europe”. Macron noted that far-right parties in France — including the top scoring National Rally (RN) — had managed to take almost 40 percent of the vote in the EU elections in France.”Far right parties… are progressing everywhere in the continent,” he said. “It is a situation to which I cannot resign myself.”He accused the far right of representing “the impoverishment” and “downgrading” of France. ”So, at the end of this day, I cannot act as if nothing had happened,” Macron added. “I decided to give you the choice… Therefore I will dissolve the National Assembly tonight.”This decision is serious and heavy but it is an act of confidence. Confidence in you, dear compatriots, and in the capacity of the French people to make the best choice for itself and future generations.”- ‘Ready to exercise power’ -The RN’s list, led by Jordan Bardella, 28, gained between 32.3 and 33 percent of the vote compared with 14.8 to 15.2 percent for Macron’s alliance led by his Renaissance party, according to projections from several polling firms.Macron had warned on Thursday that the EU risked being “blocked” by a big far-right presence in the European Parliament after this week’s elections.Bardella, speaking to supporters, said the French had “expressed a desire for change”. He was the first to call on Macron to call snap legislative elections.”France has given its verdict and there is no appeal,” said Bardella.The election results mark a critical moment.Attention is turning to France’s 2027 presidential vote, where Macron cannot stand again and RN figurehead Marine Le Pen fancies she has her best-ever chance of winning the Elysee Palace.”We are ready to exercise power if the French people have confidence in us,” said Le Pen.The dissolution will be the first such move since 1997 when then right-wing president Jacques Chirac called snap legislative elections only to see the left win a majority.This left him forced to endure half a decade in “cohabitation,” a term used in France when the president and prime minister come from opposing political forces.A presidential advisor, who asked not to be named, said that Macron’s camp was going into the elections “to win”.”Risk-taking” is part of the “DNA” of Macron’s camp, the advisor added.RN deputy chief Louis Aliot told broadcaster BFMTV that the RN would seek to win a majority in the legislative elections and make Bardella prime minister.The only consolation for Macron’s ruling party was it managed to narrowly retain second place ahead of a challenge from the Socialists, third with 13-14 percent of the vote, the projections showed.The hard-left France Unbowed (LFI) party was set to score around nine percent, the traditional right-wing Republicans seven percent and the main French Green party EELV just five percent.sjw/as/jj

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