French President Macron calls early elections after defeat in the EU poll


French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Sunday that he will dissolve parliament and hold early elections, following his party’s emphatic defeat to the far-right National Rally in the European Parliament elections earlier that day.

The National Assembly elections will take place in two rounds, on June 30 and July 7, Macron said.

He said the challenges France faces require clarity and people deserve respect. “At the end of this day, therefore, I cannot pretend that nothing happened,” he added.

“The decision is serious and difficult, but above all it is an act of trust, trust in you, my dear compatriots,” the president said, adding that he trusted the French people to make the best decisions in their own interests and that of the citizens. future generations.

According to broadcasters’ post-election projections, France’s National Rally will defeat Macron’s Renaissance by a wide margin in the European Parliament elections.

The populist, Eurosceptic National Rally party, led by Marine Le Pen, received 31.5 to 32.3% of the vote, while Macron’s pro-European camp received only about 15.2 to 15.4%, according to the report. broadcasters France 2 and TF1 reported on Sunday after the polls closed. .

“Emmanuel Macron is a weakened president tonight,” National Rally leader Jordan Bardella said earlier in the evening as he called for new elections.

“This unprecedented defeat for the ruling power marks the end of a cycle and the first day of the post-Macron era,” he added.

Projections put the Socialists in third place with 14 to 14.2%, just behind Macron’s centrist bloc. The far-right Reconquête (Reconquest) party stood at 5.3 to 5.5%.

Voter turnout at the elections was approximately 52% higher than five years ago.

Sunday’s vote also sets the stage for presidential elections in 2027. Macron, who twice won a second election against Le Pen, will no longer be able to run for office after two terms in office.

It is unclear who the center-right forces will send into the race and who will have a chance against Le Pen.

Sunday’s results are a huge blow to Macron’s government, which has already lost its absolute majority in the National Assembly, France’s parliament.

The National Rally’s landslide victory anchors a trend that already emerged in 2019, when the party narrowly edged Macron’s camp in the last European elections.

Marine Le Pen, the daughter of the movement’s far-right founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, has successfully rebranded the party initially known as the National Front and presented a much more moderate image in recent years to broaden its appeal to center-right voters. enlarge.

European Parliament elections have taken place across the 27-nation bloc over the past four days, with around 360 million people called to vote.

Although the vote has no direct impact on national politics, as it only determines who sits in the EU legislature, domestic political issues tend to dominate voters’ choices.

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