French far right inflicts heavy defeat on Macron alliance in EU polls: projections

Bardella urged Macron to call new elections (JULIEN DE ROSA)
Bardella urged Macron to call new elections (JULIEN DE ROSA)

The French far-right National Rally (RN) Sunday inflicted a heavy defeat on President Emmanuel Macron's camp in EU elections, scoring over double the number of votes of the head of state's centrist alliance, projections indicated.

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 published by several polling firms.

Macron was to address France later Sunday over the results, the presidency said. Bardella, speaking to supporters, said the French had "expressed a desire for change" and urged Macron to call snap legislative elections.

The score was the best ever recorded by the RN in elections in France.

The only consolation for the ruling party was it managed to narrowly retain second place ahead of a challenge from the Socialists, who were coming third with 13-14 percent of the vote, the projections showed.

The hard-left France Unbowed (LFI) party was to score around nine percent, the traditional right-wing Republicans seven percent and the main French Green party EELV just five percent.

The results are a blow for Macron who has long portrayed himself as a bulwark against the far right in Europe and twice defeated RN figurehead Marine Le Pen in presidential elections.

Macron warned Thursday that the EU risked being "blocked" by a big far-right presence in the European Parliament after this week's elections.

The election results also mark a critical moment as eyes turn to France's 2027 presidential vote where Macron cannot stand again and Le Pen fancies she has her best-ever chance of winning the Elysee Palace.