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France’s Macron calls for snap legislative elections after stinging EU poll defeat

France’s Macron calls for snap legislative elections after stinging EU poll defeat
French President Emmanuel Macron. (Photo: Thierry Monasse / Getty Images)

The new election in the National Assembly would be for French legislators, which doesn’t affect who is president, meaning Macron’s position is not in question.

French President Emmanuel Macron called a snap legislative election after the far right pummelled mainstream parties in France as well as Germany in a European Parliament vote.

Marine le Pen’s National Rally won with 32% of the vote — in line with expectations — while Macron’s Renaissance party trailed with 15%, according to a poll published by Ifop. The new election in the National Assembly would be for French legislators, which doesn’t affect who is president, meaning Macron’s position is not in question.

Macron’s warnings about the rise of authoritarianism and appeal for European unity in the run-up to the vote failed to boost his result as concerns about inflation, security and immigration saw Le Pen’s support increase. Ahead of the vote, he presented the election as an existential fight for the continent and pivotal for Ukraine’s battle against Vladimir Putin. 

“The president can’t remain deaf to the message sent by the French people,” Jordan Bardella, the head of the National Rally, told supporters after the results were announced. “We solemnly ask him to take note of this new political situation, to come back to the French people and organise new legislative elections.”

The first round will be held on 30 June, with a second round on 7 July, Macron said in a televised address.

The French president’s reputation as a reformer and steward of the economy has also suffered blows in recent months, with the government forced to seek tens of billions of euros in savings after its deficit ballooned, and S&P Global Ratings downgrading the country’s credit rating. 

“This is a serious and weighty decision, but above all it is an act of trust,” Macron said. “Confidence in you, my dear compatriots, in the ability of the French people to make the right choice for themselves.” DM

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