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Macron dissolves French parliament, calls a snap election after defeat in EU vote

Updated - June 10, 2024 10:16 pm IST

Published - June 10, 2024 01:00 am IST - LONDON

Some French politicians welcomed Macron’s decision, while others were dismayed, and many were surprised

French President Emmanuel Macron appears on television screen at the French far-right National Rally party election night headquarters on June 9, 2024 in Paris. Mr. Macron has dissolved the National Assembly and called new legislative election after defeat in EU vote. | Photo Credit: AP

French President Emmanuel Macron dissolved the country’s National Assembly and ordered fresh polls following gains France’s far-right made in the European Parliamentary elections. The centre-right President’s Renaissance party and its allies suffered heavy losses in the European Parliamentary elections, winning a provisional 15.2% of the vote for French seats, against the far-right Rassemblement National’s (RN) provisional 31.5%. Far-right parties together won 40% of the available seats.

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Mr. Macron, who has three years left in office and cannot seek a third term, said he had heard the people’s concerns and would answer them, noting that he was not in the race for the presidency in 2027. Elections will be held on June 30 with a run-off round on July 7.

“France needs a clear majority to act in serenity and harmony,” Mr. Macron said in a video address as he announced the move, which is a huge gamble for him. Currently, Mr. Macron’s party, which has 169 members in the 577-seat lower legislative chamber or National Assembly, governs as part of a centrist coalition of 249. RN has 88 seats.

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“Demagogues and nationalists on the rise is bad for our nation, it’s bad for Europe, and it is bad for the place of France in Europe and in the world,” he said. The pro-Europe President said he could not act like “nothing had happened” [in the European elections] and that there was a “feverish tone” to the national discourse in recent times.

Some French politicians welcomed Mr. Macron’s decision, while others were dismayed, and many were surprised.

RN’s parliamentary leader Marine Le Pen welcomed Mr. Macron’s decision and said her party would take power if the French voted for them. 

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The stock market in Paris fell at opening on Monday morning, with the CAC 40 index dropping 2.4%.

“This is a very dangerous game to play with democracy and the institutions. I am flabbergasted,” Raphaël Glucksmann, a politician from the Socialist Party said, as per news agency Reuters.

Ms. Le Pen’s deputy, Jordan Bardella, a 28-year with over a million TikTok followers, has been tapped by Ms. Le Pen to be Prime Minister if RN wins the Assembly elections. Part of his role is to try and move the party away from its racist, anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic roots under Ms. Le Pen’s father, Jean-Marie Le Pen. Yet, Mr. Bardella, whose mother comes from Italy, continues to warn that French culture is under attack as it is being “submerged” by migrants.

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