Mbappé warns of ‘catastrophic’ political situation in France as far-right moves closer to power


HAMBURG, Germany (AP) — France national soccer team captain Kylian Mbappe warned on Thursday that his country is in a “catastrophic” political situation as it moves closer to its first far-right government since World War II.

The Rassemblement National achieved strong results on Sunday – around 33% of the vote nationwide – in the first round of snap elections, potentially propelling Marine Le Pen’s party to power.

The second round of parliamentary elections is on Sunday and Mbappé, one of France’s most prominent figures, was asked if he had a message for the nation.

“I think now more than ever it is necessary to go and vote,” said Mbappé, speaking in Hamburg, Germany, the day before France play Portugal there in the quarter-finals of the European Championship.

“It is an urgent moment. We cannot allow our country to fall into the hands of these people. It is urgent — we have seen the results, it is catastrophic.”

Mbappé made a similar appeal earlier at Euro 2024, when he said that “the extremes are knocking on the door of power.”

Now there was a sense of urgency in his feelings.

“We really hope that this will change,” he said of the election results, “that everyone will unite to vote, and vote for the right party.”

President Emmanuel Macron called early elections after Rassemblement National was defeated in last month’s European Parliament election, gambling that the far-right would not repeat its success in a domestic vote. The plan failed, and Le Pen’s rivals are now desperate to prevent Rassemblement National from winning an outright majority in Sunday’s second round.

During press conferences surrounding Euro 2024, French players were regularly asked about the political situation in their home country.

Ousmane Dembele said “the alarm bells have been sounded” and his attacker Marcus Thuram went further, saying the French “must fight every day so that… the Rassemblement National does not succeed.”

Rassemblement National is a party with a history of racism and xenophobia.

The French football team that won the Euro 2000 title two years after lifting the country’s first World Cup trophy in Paris was hailed as a model of diversity and unity. The mix of “Black, Blanc, Beur” (black, white and Arab) players echoed the French tricolour of blue, white and red.


AP EC 2024:

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