Macron calls snap elections after historic far-right gains in European vote (2024)

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  • 2024 European elections

The Rassemblement National, led by Marine Le Pen's lieutenant Jordan Bardella, dominated the election in France, winning 31.5% of the votes, according to initial estimates. President Emmanuel Macron called snap elections that will be held on June 30 and July 7.

ByLe Monde in English(with AFP)

Published on June 9, 2024, at 9:09 pm (Paris), updated on June 10, 2024, at 8:57 am (this article was originally published on June 9, 2024, at 8:00 pm (Paris))

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Macron calls snap elections after historic far-right gains in European vote (1)

French President Emmanuel Macron dissolved the Assemblée Nationale and called early legislative elections after his coalition finished second, well behind the far right, in the European elections on Sunday, June 9. The first round of elections for the Assemblée will take place on June 30, with the second round on July 7, Macron announced in an address to the nation.

The far-right Rassemblement National party obtained by far the most votes (31.5%) in France, according to the latest estimates. Macron's Renaissance coalition came in second, far beind the RN with 14.6%, ahead of the Socialists and their lead candidate Raphaël Glucksmann (13.80%).

The ruling coalition's score was "not a good result for the parties who defend Europe," Macron said. "Far-right parties, which in recent years have opposed so many of the advances made possible by our Europe, (...) are gaining ground across the continent."

"I could not, at the end of this day, act as if nothing was happening," he said. "I decided to give you the choice (...) Therefore, I will dissolve the Assemblée Nationale tonight."

After Macron's announcement, Marine Le Pen, the RN's three-time presidential candidate, "welcomed" the decision. "This historic election shows that when the people vote, the people win," she said. "We are ready to exercise power."

The dissolution will be the first such move since 1997 when then right-wing president Jacques Chirac called snap legislative elections only to see the left win a majority. This left him forced to endure half a decade in "cohabitation," a term used in France when the president and prime minister come from opposing political camps.

RN gains eight point

The estimated results of the European elections showed two other parties appeared certain of crossing the 5% threshold required to send candidates to the European Parliament: the radical left La France Insoumise and the conservative Les Républicains. The estimates also put the Greens at 5.5%, the same score as the far-right party Reconquête! at 5.5%.

The RN has now been the top-ranking party in three consecutive European elections. This year, however, it improved its tally by around eight points compared with 2019, when the same lead candidate, Jordan Bardella, had obtained 23.34 %.

Read more Subscribers only 2024 European elections: Far-right Rassemblement National achieves historic success

In his speech after the first estimates were published, the 28-year-old Bardella had "solemnly asked" Macron to dissolve the Assemblée Nationale and call early elections. "A wind of hope has risen in France, it is just beginning," said Bardella. "This clear message has been sent to Emmanuel Macron and the European leaders."

Macron calls snap elections after historic far-right gains in European vote (2)

RN deputy chief Louis Aliot told broadcaster BFMTV that the RN would seek to win a majority in the legislative elections and make Bardella prime minister.

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The score of President Macron's coalition came as a disappointment, but not a surprise, after a sluggish campaign for his lead candidate Valérie Hayer, an unfamiliar face to many voters.

Read more Subscribers only European elections: A look back at a French campaign dominated by domestic issues

Throughout the EU's 27 member states, citizens voted over four days to elect the 720 members of the European Parliament for the next five-year term. Results began trickling in on Sunday as the last countries voted.

Read more 2024 European elections results: Explore our map and view the make-up of the future Parliament

Le Monde in English(with AFP)

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Macron calls snap elections after historic far-right gains in European vote (2024)
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