June 15, 2024

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France: Macron is betting on holding early elections after his landslide loss to the French far right in the European Union vote

France: Macron is betting on holding early elections after his landslide loss to the French far right in the European Union vote


French President Emmanuel Macron dissolved the country’s parliament, the National Assembly, and called early elections after opinion polls showed that his Ennahda party would be defeated by the far-right opposition in Sunday’s European parliamentary elections.

Following initial expectations, the far-right National Rally party came in first with 31.5% of the vote, more than double the share of the Ennahdha Party, which rose to second place with 15.2% of the vote, directly ahead of the Socialists. In third place with 14.3% of the votes.

In a celebratory speech after the exit poll results were published, National Rally party leader Jordan Bardella called on Macron to dissolve the French parliament, describing the gap between the two parties as a “stinging repudiation” of the president.

“This unprecedented defeat of the current government marks the end of the cycle, and the first day of the post-Macron era,” Bardella told a raucous audience at the National Front party headquarters.

Within an hour, Macron delivered a national speech, in which he announced that he would dissolve the French House of Representatives and hold parliamentary elections. Macron said that the first round will be held on June 30, and the second round on July 7.

“I have decided to give you back the choice of your parliamentary future through a vote. Therefore, I will dissolve the National Assembly this evening,” Macron said in the surprise announcement.

“This decision is dangerous and heavy. But above all, it is an act of trust. Trust you, dear citizens. The French President added: “In the ability of the French people to make the most just decision.”

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Stephane Limoton/SIPA/AP

Macron and First Lady Brigitte Macron at the Touquet polling station, for the European elections, June 9, 2024.

Under the French system, parliamentary elections are held to elect the 577 members of the House of Representatives (National Assembly). Separate elections are being held to choose the country’s president, which will not be scheduled again before 2027.

In the last set of parliamentary elections held in 2022, the group’s coalition, including Macron’s Ennahda party, failed to achieve an overall majority and was forced to seek help from elsewhere.

Speaking after Macron’s announcement, Marine Le Pen – who ran unsuccessfully against Macron for the French presidency in 2017 and 2022, but whose National Rally party has since enjoyed a resurgence in the polls – said she welcomed his decision to hold an election.

“We are ready to seize power if the French put their trust in us,” said Le Pen, parliamentary leader of the National Front party.

She said: “We are ready to rebuild the country, we are ready to defend the interests of the French, we are ready to put an end to mass immigration, we are ready to make the purchasing power of the French a priority, and we are ready to start re-industrializing the country.” He said.

Since the start of his second term in 2022, Macron has ruled with a relative majority, which has forced him to invoke Article 49.3 of the French constitution several times — pushing legislation through parliament without a vote, sparking growing discontent from opposition lawmakers and many voters. French audience.

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The last time a French president dissolved Parliament was in 1997, causing Jacques Chirac to lose his majority and bringing the Socialists to power under the leadership of Lionel Jospin.

A source at the Elysee close to Macron, who requested anonymity, told CNN that the expected results showed that there is a “republican majority” in France made up of those “who do not agree with the ideas of the extreme right.”

“We should never be afraid of the French people,” the source said. “Persuasion, persuasion, persuasion – this is the spirit that the presidential majority will embrace.”