“My only desire is to be useful to our country, which I love so much,” he said (File)

Paris:

President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday he was confident the Frenchman would make the “right choice” in snap elections he called after the far-right handed his centrist coalition a crushing defeat in EU elections. was

His surprise move came as mainstream parties retained an overall majority in the European Parliament in Sunday’s poll, but the far-right won high-profile victories in Italy, Austria and France.

In Germany, where the three ruling coalition parties also performed disappointingly, a spokesman for center-left Chancellor Olaf Schulz dismissed the snap poll on Monday.

Analysts say the French leader has taken the dangerous gamble of calling for snap polls to keep the far-right National Rally (RN) out of power when his second term expires in 2027.

“I believe in the ability of the French people to make the right choice for themselves and for future generations,” Macron wrote on X on Monday morning.

“My only desire is to be useful to our country, which I love so much.”

Macron’s announcement of a new national assembly election on June 30, with a second round in France on July 7, has caused widespread alarm, even within the ranks of his own party.

“By playing with fire, the head of state can end up burning himself out and dragging the whole country into flames,” Le Monde wrote in an editorial.

Lower House Speaker Yael Braun-Pivet, a senior figure in Macron’s party, appeared to express some dissent on Monday morning, suggesting that forming coalitions with other parties was a better “way forward.” Could have been.

“The president thought that this path did not exist… I take note of this decision,” she told France 2 television channel.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, a Socialist, described the prospect of an election just weeks before the start of the Paris Olympics as “extremely worrying”.

But International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach denied having a direct influence on the event.

A far-right prime minister?

In a televised address late Sunday, Macron warned of the threat of “the rise of nationalists and demagogues” to France and its place in Europe.

Macron noted that far-right parties in France, including the RN, have managed to capture around 40 percent of the EU vote.

He hopes to regain his lost majority in the lower house after winning a second term in the 2022 legislative elections.

But some fear the anti-immigration RN could win instead, forcing Macron to work in an uneasy alliance with a far-right prime minister.

RN Vice President Sebastian Chinu said on Monday that Jordan Bardella, the party’s 28-year-old leader, would be a contender for the post.

His mentor Marine Le Pen, runner-up in the last two presidential elections, remains party leader in parliament and is widely expected to seek re-election in 2027.

The far right scored big in France, Italy and Austria, and came second in Germany and the Netherlands.

The Kremlin, which hopes Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will soften the tone of the far-right, said it was “watching carefully” the gains.

“Although pro-Europeans have so far remained in their leadership positions, over time, based on what we see, the right-wing parties will be on their heels,” spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. “

‘Unprecedented Gravity’

The RN came first in France with more than 31 percent of the vote – more than double Macron’s tally with 14 percent.

Socialist and far-left France Enbaud trailed behind with 13 and nine percent.

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, who belongs to Macron’s party, warned that the election, which began in 1958, would have “the most serious consequences in the history of the Fifth Republic”.

“This is an election that has consequences of unprecedented gravity for our nation,” he told RTL radio broadcaster.

The team of Foreign Minister Stéphane Sejourn, who is also secretary-general of Macron’s Renaissance party, said he would remain “fully engaged” in the battle for parliamentary seats as well as his job as a minister.

On the left, the head of the Socialist Party, Olivier Feur, called for “a public front against the extreme right”.

“The right wing is not just at the door to power, it has a foot in the door,” he told France Info radio after the RN’s score in the EU elections.

Analyst Mujtaba Rahman, managing director for Europe at Eurasia Group, said Macron had taken a “huge gamble”.

He said the most likely outcome was “another hung parliament” that would lead Macron to “form a wider coalition with the centre-right or centre-left”.

(Other than the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

(Tags translation) Emmanuel Macron(T) Dissolution of the European Parliament



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