Macron Calls a Snap Election After Le Pen’s Triumph in EU Vote

Macron Le Pen elections
Macron is taking a big risk with the move that could backfire. Credit: French Presidency

President Emmanuel Macron has called snap parliamentary elections later this month in the wake of a big victory for his rival Marine Le Pen’s National Rally in the European Parliament vote.

The far-right party is on course to win 32 percent of the vote, exit polls say, more than twice that of the president’s Renaissance party.

Announcing the dissolution of parliament, he said the two rounds of voting would take place on 30 June and 7 July, a few weeks before the Paris Olympics.

In an address to the nation from the Elysee presidential palace, Macron said: “I’ve decided to give you back the choice of our parliamentary future through the vote. I am therefore dissolving the National Assembly.”

Macron, who lost his majority at the National Assembly in 2022, is taking a big risk with the move that could backfire and increase the chances of Le Pen to eventually take power, the Associated Press reports.

The French president said the decision was “serious” but showed his “confidence in our democracy, in letting the sovereign people have their say.”

“In the next few days, I’ll be saying what I think is the right direction for the nation. I’ve heard your message, your concerns, and I won’t leave them unanswered,” he said.

The upcoming parliamentary elections won’t affect Macron’s own job, as they are separate to the presidential elections and his term as president still runs for three more years.

Le Pen “ready” for Macron’s challenge

Le Pen, who has twice been defeated by Macron in presidential elections, immediately reacted, saying her party was “ready to exercise power, ready to put an end to mass immigration”.

For weeks, the National Rally has been clamoring that it is “ready to govern” and wants a dissolution of the National Assembly if the presidential list loses the election.

The National Rally’s lead candidate, 28-year-old Jordan Bardella, has even offered to act as Macron’s prime minister if they win a majority in parliament.

At no point in history has the National Rally appeared closer to power, with more MEPs and members of parliament than ever, and opinion polls showing support for the French far right rising in new categories of voters, Politico says.

All eyes are on whether Le Pen can reverse her role as perennial runner-up in French presidential elections, and win in 2027.

The idea of Le Pen in the Élysée is viewed with horror in Brussels, where France lurching to the far right is seen as posing existential challenges to the EU.

While Le Pen has softened her image and toned down her inflammatory and Eurosceptic rhetoric, her party is still on the fringes of politics on a range of issues.

The National Rally repeatedly abstained on Ukraine aid, wants to ultimately leave NATO’s integrated command and opposes many landmark EU legislative measures in recent years, Politico adds.

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