France’s Macron dissolves parliament, calls new elections

French President Emanuel Macron announced Sunday he was dissolving the National Assembly and calling a snap election after his centrist alliance was trounced by the far-right National Rally in the European Parliament elections.

According to the first exit polls, the National Rally won around 32%, more than double Macron’s pro-EU coalition, which received 15% of the vote.

The first round of France’s parliamentary election will be held on June 30 and a second round is scheduled for July 7.

Exit polls on Sunday have shown the far-right making substantial gains in other member states in the European Parliament election, including in Germany and Austria.

Macron calls snap elections after heavy defeat: Sonia Phalnikar reports

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What did Macron say about the snap election?

“I’ve decided to give you back the choice of our parliamentary future through the vote. I am therefore dissolving the National Assembly,” Macron said in an address to the nation.

Macron said that the EU parliamentary election result was “not a good result for parties that defend Europe.”

“Far right parties … are progressing everywhere in the continent. It is a situation to which I cannot resign myself,” he said.

“This is an essential time for clarification … I have heard your message, your concerns, and I will not leave them unanswered,” France’s president said.

“The decision is serious and difficult, but it is above all an act of trust, trust in you, my dear compatriots,” he said, stressing that he cannot “pretend nothing has happened.”

He encouraged citizens to “vote massively” in the election, saying that “France needs a clear majority.”

Voters give opinions on final day of 2024 European elections

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National Rally celebrates result

National Rally leader Marine Le Pen welcomed Macron’s call for new elections.

“We are ready to take over the power if the French give us their trust in the upcoming national elections,” she said.

The National Rally’s lead candidate for the European Parliament elections, Jordan Bardella, called Macron a “weakened” leader.

“Emmanuel Macron is a weakened president, already deprived of an absolute majority in the French parliament and now restricted in his means of action within the European Parliament,” he said.

Macron won in two run-off elections against Le Pen but will not be able to run again after two terms in office.

France’s next presidential election is expected to be held in 2027.

Macron’s centrist alliance lost its majority in parliament after elections in June 2022.

sdi/nm (Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa)