Macron dissolves French parliament and calls snap election after EU vote defeat

9 June 2024, 22:54

European Election France
European Election France. Picture: PA

The president made the announcement after a strong performance from the far-right National Rally in European elections.

President Emmanuel Macron has dissolved the lower house of France’s parliament in a surprise announcement sending voters back to the polls in the coming weeks to choose legislators, after his party was handed a humbling defeat by the far right in the European elections.

The legislative elections will take place in two rounds on June 30 and July 7.

The announcement came after the first projected results from France put the far-right National Rally party well ahead in the European Union’s parliamentary elections, handing a chastening loss to Mr Macron’s pro-European centrists, according to French opinion poll institutes.

Marine Le Pen’s anti-immigration, nationalist party was estimated to get around 31%-32% of the votes, a historic result more than double the share of Mr Macron’s Renaissance party, which was projected to reach around 15%.

Mr Macron himself was not a candidate in the EU elections and his term as president still runs for three more years.

He said the decision was “serious” but showed his “confidence in our democracy, in letting the sovereign people have their say”.

“In the next few days I’ll be saying what I think is the right direction for the nation. I’ve heard your message, your concerns, and I won’t leave them unanswered,” the president said.

In latest legislative elections in 2022, Mr Macron’s centrist party won the most seats but lost its majority at the National Assembly, forcing legislators into political manoeuvring to pass Bills.

With Sunday’s decision, he is taking a big risk with a move that could backfire and increase the chances of Ms Le Pen eventually taking power.

A scenario in which an opposition party would eventually win a parliament majority could lead to a fraught powersharing situation called “cohabitation”, with Mr Macron to name a prime minister with different views.

Ms Le Pen, who heads the National Rally group at the National Assembly, “welcomed” Mr Macron’s move.

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella, president of the French far-right National Rally, at the party election night headquarters in Paris
French far-right leader Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella, president of the French far-right National Rally, at the party election night headquarters in Paris (Lewis Joly/AP)

“We’re ready for it,” said Ms Le Pen, who was the runner-up to Mr Macron in the last two presidential elections.

“We’re ready to exercise power if the French people place their trust in us in these future legislative elections.

“We’re ready to turn the country around, ready to defend the interests of the French, ready to put an end to mass immigration, ready to make the purchasing power of the French a priority.”

The EU election results were a hard blow for Mr Macron, who has been advocating for Europe-wide efforts to defend Ukraine and the need for the EU to boost its own defences and industry.

The National Rally’s lead candidate for the EU elections, Jordan Bardella, campaigned for limiting free movement of migrants by carrying out national border controls and dialling back EU climate rules.

The party no longer wants to leave the EU and the euro, but aims to weaken it from within.

“Tonight, our compatriots have expressed a desire for change,” Mr Bardella said.

“Emmanuel Macron is tonight a weakened president.”

An official at Mr Macron’s office said the decision to dissolve the National Assembly was justified by the “historic score of the far right” that could not be ignored and the current “parliamentarian disorder”.

“You’re never wrong when you give the people a say,” said the official.

EU election projections also show a resurgence of the Socialist Party, with about 14% of the votes.

The party campaigned on more ambitious climate policies and protections for European businesses and workers, with about 14% of the votes.

Reacting to Mr Macron’s announcement, far-left politician Francois Ruffin called on all leaders from the left, including the Greens, to unite under a single Popular Front banner.

“To avoid the worse, to win,” he wrote on X.

France is electing 81 members of the European Parliament, which has 720 seats in total.

By Press Association

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

Girl, 11, plunges 65ft to her death after 'wandering onto seventh floor balcony' of Majorca hotel as relatives slept

Girl, 12, plunges 65ft to her death after 'toppling from seventh floor balcony' of Majorca hotel as relatives slept

Donald Trump thinks Joe Biden never had Covid

Trump claims Biden 'never had COVID' and the president wanted to ‘get out’ ever since pair clashed at debate

Nigel Farage described Joe Biden as "incompetent"

Nigel Farage says Joe Biden is ‘past his sell-by date’ and US election is all but ‘lost’

The tragedy happened at Carton railway station in Sydney, Australia

Father and toddler killed after pram carrying twins hit by train after falling onto tracks

Live
Vice President Harris Holds Campaign Event In Maryland On Anniversary of Roe v. Wade Being Overturned

Follow live: Top Dems back Harris and donations surge after Biden quits race

Joe Biden quits 2024 US presidential race and endorses his VP Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris promises to do 'everything in her power' to defeat Donald Trump after Joe Biden drops out of race

Starmer praises Joe Biden's 'remarkable career' as leaders react to president quitting  2024 US presidential race

Starmer praises Joe Biden's 'remarkable career' as leaders react to president quitting 2024 US presidential race

President Biden Addresses The Nation From The White House Oval Office

Joe Biden quits 2024 US election as it happened: President Biden backs VP Kamala Harris as Trump hits out at 'unfit' leader

Biden withdraws from US presidential race

Joe Biden has endorsed Vice President Kamala Harris as Democratic Presidential nominee

Joe Biden quits 2024 US presidential race and endorses Kamala Harris - as Trump labels him 'unfit to serve'

Joe Biden quits 2024 US presidential race and endorses Kamala Harris - as Trump labels him 'unfit to serve'

The 152nd Open - Day Four

American Xander Schauffele crowned The 152nd Open Champion as he finishes -9 to win in Royal Troon

Sarah Justine Packwood, 54, and her husband, Brett Clibbery, 70.

Mystery as Brit woman and husband attempting to cross Atlantic found dead in lifeboat one month after going missing

Donald Trump spoke at a rally for the first time since he was shot in the ear

Donald Trump says he ‘took a bullet for democracy’ at first rally since assassination attempt

A series of Israeli strikes have been launched against the Houthi-controlled port city of Hodeidah in Yemen

Israel launches series of air strikes on Houthi-controlled city in Yemen day after group claim deadly attack on Tel Aviv

Holidaymakers have been left stranded during global IT outage

'We're not being given any information': Furious holidaymaker stranded in Rhodes tells of travel hell after IT outage

A highway bridge collapsed in northwest China.

At least 12 people dead and more than 30 missing after China bridge collapses due to flooding