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Emmanuel Macron bets on early elections in France after European defeat

Legend, President Macron’s announcement came as a surprise, despite his defeat in the European elections

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

The far-right party is on track to win 32% of the vote, according to exit polls, more than double that of the president’s Renaissance party.

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

Mr Macron made the dramatic and surprise decision in a televised speech from the Élysée Palace, an hour after voting closed and exit polls for France’s European elections were announced.

  • Author, Hugh Schofield
  • Role, BBC News, Paris

His decision came shortly after National Rally leader Jordan Bardella, 28, openly called on the president to call legislative elections.

“I have heard your message,” the president told French voters, “and I will not let it go unanswered.”

“France needs a clear majority, in serenity and harmony,” he declared, adding that he could not resign himself to the progression of the far right “everywhere on the continent”.

Barely two years into his second presidential term, Mr. Macron already lacks a majority in the French Parliament and, although this European vote theoretically has no impact on national policy, he has clearly decided that the continuation of his mandate without new popular consultation too much pressure on the system.

The upcoming legislative elections will also not affect Mr Macron’s work, as they are separate from the presidential elections and his term as president lasts another three years.

Ms Le Pen, beaten twice by Mr Macron in the presidential elections, reacted immediately, saying her party was “ready to exercise power, ready to put an end to mass immigration”.

Video caption, Emmanuel Macron calls early elections following the results of the European elections

Calling early elections is a huge surprise for the country and a huge risk for President Macron.

He could have reacted differently. He could have continued on, explaining the massive victory of the far right as a European aberration that would be corrected in bigger elections.

He could have counted on the imminence of the European Football Championship in Germany and especially on the Olympic Games in Paris to distract attention from politics for a few months.

This is certainly how the Parisian commentariat thought he would deal with the rout of his party.

But we can only assume that the president foresaw this situation and planned his response in advance.

Legend, Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella were already celebrating a big victory before Mr Macron’s announcement

The result was certainly an almost exact replica of the polls, so he would have had plenty of time to consider his options.

The fact is he’s stuck.

Without a majority, getting a bill passed in the National Assembly is already a struggle. With most of the country now clearly opposed to him, any new legislation – for example the upcoming budget – could have proven explosive.

He therefore opted for “clarity”. If the National Rally gets the votes, then, he says, they should have the chance to govern.

The president obviously hopes that his own party, Renaissance, can fight back in the elections of June 30 and July 7. Or that other parties will do much better too.

But he must understand that the odds favor another victory for the National Rally. Perhaps not as radical as Sunday’s, but enough for the party to become the largest party in Parliament.

We could then have a Prime Minister Marine Le Pen, or even Jordan Bardella.

Gn headline
News Source : www.bbc.com

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