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Macron dissolves parliament after EU defeat, calls election

French President Emanuel Macron on Sunday announced the dissolution of the National Assembly, calling for new legislative elections after his camp heavily lost to the far right National Rally party in the country’s EU election.

The first round of the French Parliamentary election will take place on June 30. The second will be on July 7.
“France needs a clear majority in serenity and harmony. To be French, at heart, is about choosing to write history, not being driven by it,” Macron said.

The far-right National Rally is projected to win the European election in France with 31.5 percent of the vote — more than twice the 15.2 percent Macron’s liberal Renaissance party is projected to win.

The National Rally’s share of the vote eclipsed the total for the second and third largest parties combined — with the center-left social democrats earning around 14 percent, according to early exit polls.

The decision to dissolve the National Assembly was met with disbelief by Macron’s supporters, with several people screaming “Oh no” as he spoke to a crowd in a televised address from his party headquarters in Paris.

In contrast, jubilant supporters of the National Rally party celebrated as Macron announced the dissolution of parliament, something the party had called for as the scale of their victory became apparent.

They sang “Dissolution, dissolution!” as they watched Macron’s address at an electoral event where long-time RN leader and famed Euroskeptic Marine Le Pen took the stage soon after.

“I can only welcome this decision, which is in line with the logic and architecture of the Fifth Republic,” Le Pen said to ecstatic followers. She said the result of the EU election should send a message to Brussels and “put an end to this painful epoch of globalism.”

She spoke on stage next to the National Rally’s lead candidate for the EU election, Jordan Bardella. As she finished speaking, the audience of several hundred sang the French national anthem, the Marseillaise, waved French tricolors and visited the buffet to get more drinks.

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen has just welcomed Macron’s decision to call a snap election.
“This historic vote shows that when people vote, people win,” she told a cheering crowd of supporters at a rally in Paris.

“We are ready to take over power if the French give us their trust in the upcoming national elections,” she added.
“We are ready to exercise power, to end mass migration, to prioritise purchasing power, ready to make France live again,” she said.

Calling a snap election is a huge surprise for the country, and a huge risk for Macron.

He could have reacted differently. He could have just kept going, explaining the hard-right’s massive victory as a European aberration which would be corrected at more important elections.

He could have trusted the impending Euro football championship 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.

The fact is that he is stuck. He has no majority in the National Assembly, so getting any bill through 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.

So he has plumped for “clarity”. If the hard-right has the votes, then – he says – they should be given the chance to govern.

Obviously the president will hope his own Renaissance party can mount a fight back at the elections on 30 June and 7 July. Or that other parties will do better too. But he must appreciate that the odds favour another victory for the Rassemblement National – maybe not one so sweeping as today’s, but enough for it to become the biggest party in parliament.

By Agencies

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