Mbappe calls far-right election win catastrophic and urges action

Euro 2024 - Netherlands v France

By Mark Gleeson

HAMBURG, Germany (Reuters) - France captain Kylian Mbappe said gains by the far-right National Rally party in last weekend’s first round of French parliamentary elections were catastrophic and on Thursday urged French voters to come out against them.

Mbappe has been among several French players at the European Championship who have spoken out against the potential of Marine Le Pen's RN party gaining control of France's 577-seat national parliament, describing the situation as urgent.

He had previously called on France’s young voters to reject extremism and, on the eve of his team’s quarter-final against Portugal, was asked again for a message ahead of the return to the polls on Sunday for the parliamentary election run-off.

"I think that more than ever, we have to go and vote, it is really urgent, we cannot leave our country in the hands of these people, it is really urgent," Mbappe told a press conference.

"We saw the results of the first round, it’s catastrophic. We really hope that this will change and that everyone will mobilise to vote... and vote for the right side.”

RN scored historic gains to win the first round, but are set to fall short of an absolute majority in Sunday's run-off, an opinion poll showed on Thursday.

Mbappe found himself at the centre of his country's political turmoil on the eve of France's opening game at Euro 2024 a fortnight ago, describing the tumultuous events back home as a pivotal moment in the country’s history.

"This is a never-seen-before event," he said then. "And that is why I want to talk to the whole of the French people, but also the youth.

"We are a generation that can make a difference. We see the extremes are knocking on the door of power and we have the opportunity to shape our country's future."

Forward Marcus Thuram had also urged people to 'fight daily' to prevent RN from gaining power, while winger Ousmane Dembele said "the alarm bell has been sounded," and urged people to mobilise and vote, as did team mate Olivier Giroud.

Coach Didier Deschamps said he respected his players' right to their political views.

"It's their free will," he said. "We must recognise they are great players but also French citizens and they are not immune or indifferent to the situation in the country."

(Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Christian Radnedge)