Macron calls snap French elections after European Parliament drubbing

Marine Le Pen’s far-right RN closer than ever to power in France



June 10, 2024

/ By / Paris

Macron calls snap French elections after European Parliament drubbing

French President Emmanuel Macron has dissolved the French Parliament

French President Emmanuel Macron has dissolved the National Assembly and called snap parliamentary elections later this month, just minutes after the far-right Rassemblement Nationale (RN) handed an historic drubbing to his party in the European Parliament elections.

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In a decision that seems to have caught his own party and his government by total surprise, French President Emmanuel Macron has dissolved the French Parliament, Assemblée Nationale, and called snap elections that would be held on June 30 and July 7.

Macron made the announced in a live television broadcast on Sunday just minutes after the results in the European Parliament elections began coming in, with a thumping win for the far-right party Rassemblement Nationale (RN) which bagged 31.36 pc of all votes cast, compared to 23.34 pc in 2019 and more than double of Macron’s own party, Rennaissance, that stood at second place with 14.6 pc, which saw a drop from 22.42 pc votes.

The Parti Socialiste, which has been in a moribund state for the past eight years, saw a sharp revival of its fortunes as it scored 13.83 pc, more than twice its low score of 6.19 pc in 2019 European Parliament elections.

For Le Pen’s RN the call for snap elections could prove to be a boon

For Le Pen’s RN the call for snap elections could prove to be a boon

Though the far-right RN, led by Marine Le Pen, was always expected to emerge as the largest party in the European Parliament elections, Macron was clearly left shocked by the huge distance at which his own party stood and he seems to have gambled not only his party’s fortunes, but also over two and a half years that remain of his presidency.

For Le Pen’s RN the call for snap elections could prove to be a boon as her party’s electoral machine has already performed and is in high gear and the mood of the electorate is writ large. With the basic issues of inflation, immigration and unemployment remaining where they are, neither Macron’s party nor the left and left-of-centre parties can do much to convince the voters enough in the next 20 days to dump RN and choose them.

Thus the snap elections place Le Pen and her party closer than ever to taking power, at least in French Parliament. Le Pen has already said her party is ready to take over the reins of France and deliver the good governance that the French voters have been seeking for decades.

In gambling away his party’s and his own fortunes, Macron is perhaps counting on the traditional undeclared part that the ‘mainstream’ French parties have had for many decades, to collaborate to keep the far-right party out of power. Historically, whenever the Le Pen’s party has come close to taking power, say by being one of the two parties left in the fray in the second round of a Parliamentary or Presidential poll, all other parties have urged their voters to vote against Le Pen and her party, portraying them as a serious threat to French democracy.

While this seemingly undemocratic pact has worked so far, with the latest examples being Macron’s own Presidential victories in 2017 and 2022, this idea may have run its course for several reasons. One Le Pen and her party have dramatically toned down their rhetoric and now their manifesto and campaign speeches are not very different from those of either the centre-left or centre-right, let alone far-left or far-right extremes.

Secondly, the last decade has seen the emergence of several governments in the European Union that are run by far-right parties and without any catastrophic outcomes for the country or the EU. The latest example is Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, leader of Italian far-right party, Fratelli d’Italia, who has been governing Italy fairly sensibly since her win in October 2022.

Though it is too early to call, but chances are that Macron, also called ‘Jupiter’ in France for his headstrong decisions and utterances, may have finally bitten more than he can chew and may have hastened the historic transfer of power from the centre-left or centre-right to far right for the first time ever in France.

He and his party, which is in complete disarray, has barely two weeks to pull off a miracle win that seems to be increasingly slipping away from his grip, just as France is.



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