Macron Calls Early Election After Far-Right Gains in EU Vote

(PARIS) — In a surprise announcement, President dissolved the lower house of France’s parliament, forcing voters to head back to the polls in the coming weeks to choose lawmakers. This move follows a significant defeat for his party in the European elections on Sunday, where the far-right party secured a dominant victory.

The legislative elections will be held in two rounds, on June 30 and July 7.

The decision came after projected results indicated a strong lead for the far-right National Rally party in the European Union’s parliamentary elections. These projections, released by French opinion poll institutes, revealed a substantial setback for Macron’s pro-European centrist party.

Marine Le Pen’s anti-immigration, nationalist party is estimated to have secured around 31%-32% of the votes, marking a historic result. This figure is more than double the projected share of Macron’s Renaissance party, which is estimated to have garnered around 15% of the vote.

Macron himself was not a candidate in the EU elections. His term as president extends for another three years.

He described his decision as “serious” but emphasized 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.

In the previous legislative elections held in 2022, Macron’s centrist party emerged victorious with the most seats. However, they lost their majority in the National Assembly, necessitating political maneuvering among lawmakers to pass legislation.

With his recent decision, Macron is taking a substantial risk. This move could backfire and potentially increase the chances of Le Pen ultimately assuming power.

A scenario where an opposition party ultimately secures a majority in parliament could lead to a complex power-sharing situation known as “cohabitation.” In this scenario, Macron would be tasked with appointing a prime minister with differing political views.

Le Pen, who heads the National Rally group at the National Assembly, “welcomed” Macron’s decision.

’We’re ready for it,” said Le Pen, who was the runner-up to Macron in the last two presidential elections. “We’re ready to exercise power if the French people place their trust in us in these future legislative elections. We’re ready to turn the country around, ready to defend the interests of the French, ready to put an end to mass immigration, ready to make the purchasing power of the French a priority.”

The results of the EU elections represent a significant setback for Macron. He has been advocating for Europe-wide efforts to defend Ukraine and has stressed the need for the EU to strengthen its own defenses and industrial capabilities.

The National Rally’s lead candidate for the EU elections, Jordan Bardella, campaigned on a platform that included limiting the free movement of migrants by implementing national border controls and scaling back EU climate regulations. While the party has abandoned its previous stance of leaving the EU and the euro, it aims to weaken the EU from within.

“Tonight, our compatriots have expressed a desire for change,” Bardella said. “Emmanuel Macron is tonight a weakened president.“

An official from Macron’s office stated that the decision to dissolve the National Assembly was justified by the “historic score of the far-right” which could not be disregarded, and the current “parliamentarian disorder.”

“You’re never wrong when you give the people a say,” said the official, who spoke anonymously in line with the practice of Macron’s office.

EU elections’ projections also indicate a resurgence of the Socialist Party, with approximately 14% of the votes. The party campaigned on more ambitious climate policies and protections for European businesses and workers, securing about 14% of the votes.

Reacting to Macron’s announcement, far-left politician Francois Ruffin called on all leaders from the left, including the Greens, to unite under a single “Popular Front” banner. “To avoid the worse, to win,” he wrote on X.

France is electing 81 members of the European Parliament, which has a total of 720 seats.


Petrequin reported from Brussels.