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French president Macron takes huge risk over surprise election

French president Macron takes huge risk over surprise election

French president Macron takes huge risk over surprise election

French president Macron takes huge risk over surprise election

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  • Macron’s decision comes as he already lacks a majority in the French parliament, a decision he made to prevent strain on the system.
  • The upcoming parliamentary elections won’t affect Macron’s job as they are separate from the presidential elections.
  • The decision is a huge risk for Macron, as he could have continued his mandate without a new popular consultation.
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President Emmanuel Macron has called snap parliamentary elections later this month following a significant victory for his rival Marine Le Pen’s National Rally in the European Parliament vote. Exit polls indicate that the far-right party is on course to win 32% of the vote, more than twice that of the president’s Renaissance party.

Announcing the dissolution of parliament, he scheduled two rounds of voting for 30 June and 7 July, a few weeks before the Paris Olympics. Mr. Macron made the dramatic and surprising decision in a televised address from the Élysée Palace an hour after voting closed and exit polls had been declared in France’s EU elections.

His decision came not long after National Rally’s 28-year-old leader, Jordan Bardella, openly called on the president to call parliamentary elections.

“I have heard your message,” the president told French voters, “and I will not let it go without a response.”

“France needs a clear majority in serenity and harmony,” he said, adding that he could not resign himself to the far-right’s progress “everywhere in the continent”.

Now barely two years into his second term as president, Mr. Macron already lacks a majority in the French parliament. Though this European vote in theory has no bearing on national politics, he clearly decided that continuing his mandate without a new popular consultation would place too much of a strain on the system.

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The upcoming parliamentary elections also won’t affect Mr. Macron’s own job, as they are separate from the presidential elections, and his term as president still runs for three more years. Ms. Le Pen, who has twice been defeated by Mr. Macron in presidential elections, immediately reacted, stating that her party was “ready to exercise power, ready to put an end to mass immigration.”

Calling a snap election is a huge surprise for the country and a huge risk for President Macron. He could have reacted differently. He could have just kept going, explaining the far right’s massive victory as a European aberration that would be corrected at more important elections.

He could have trusted the impending European football championship in Germany and, above all, the Paris Olympics to keep people’s minds off politics for a couple of months. That was certainly how the Paris commentariat thought he would take his party’s rout. But one can only assume the president had seen this coming and planned his response in advance.

Certainly, the result was an almost exact replica of the polls, so he would have had plenty of time to consider his options. Without a majority, getting any bill through the National Assembly is already a struggle. With most of the country now so clearly against him, any new legislation – for example, the upcoming budget – could have proved explosive.

Also Read

Far-Right party holds significant lead over Macron ally in EU election
Far-Right party holds significant lead over Macron ally in EU election

RN's top candidate, Jordan Bardella, is credited with 32.5% of voting intentions....

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