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.

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,” he 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.”

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.

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