France’s Macron Calls Snap Election After Far-Right Win in EU Vote

Hannah McKay/Pool/AFP via Getty Images
Hannah McKay/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

French President Emmanuel Macron announced Sunday that he would dissolve the lower house of Parliament and call for new legislative elections after an exit poll showed his coalition government being handily defeated by the far-right opposition in the European Union’s parliamentary elections.

The first projections showed Marine Le Pen’s anti-immigration National Rally party crushing Macron’s Renaissance party, with the former collecting a record 31 percent of the vote to the latter’s 15 percent. The center-left Socialist party came in third with 14 percent of the vote.

In an address, Macron said that the country was in need of a “clear majority in serenity and harmony,” and that he could not sit back and watch the encroaching influence of far-right parties continue to spread across the continent.

“For me, who always considers that a Europe united, strong, independent is good for France, this is a situation which I cannot countenance,” he said, adding later that it was a “serious, weighty decision” that he had not made lightly.

“Above all it’s an act of trust,” the president said. “Confidence in you, confidence in the ability of the French people to make the right choice for themselves and for future generations.”

The move is a considerable gamble for Macron, who won a second presidential term in April 2022. Two months later, his centrist coalition lost its absolute majority in parliament, forcing him to form a minority government. The decision to call for new elections could see his coalition lose further ground in, and possibly all control of, the 577-seat National Assembly.

It also came as a shock to supporters, some of whom screamed “oh no!” while watching his address, according to Politico. Critics and backers of the National Rally were elated, however, singing out “dissolution, dissolution” at a rally where Le Pen spoke.

“We are ready to take over power if the French give us their trust in the upcoming national elections,” she said, Al Jazeera reported.

Next to the longtime far-right figurehead as she delivered her speech was Jordan Bardella, president and lead candidate for the National Rally. On Sunday, Bardella tweeted that his party was “ready to constitute a new majority for France.” He called on French citizens to “join us and get involved.”

The snap election will take place on June 30, with a run-off round set for July 7. Macron’s presidential term expires in 2027, and he is not allowed to stand for a third term.

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