Macron Defeated by Populists, Calls for Immediate National Election


Le Pen’s populist-nationalist faction received twice as many votes as Emmanuel Macron’s governing centrists in Sunday’s European Parliament election, prompting Macron to dissolve the national parliament and call for fresh elections to solidify his authority for the rest of his presidential term.

Shortly after President Macron declared he was calling for new elections to strengthen his position, National Rally (RN, Rassemblement National) leader Marine Le Pen addressed her supporters in Paris, announcing their preparedness for the snap election.

Celebrating the rise of right-wing parties across Europe as the “dawn of a new day for all the nations and peoples of Europe” and expressing hope that the result would end “the painful globalist interlude that has caused global suffering,” Le Pen stated it confirmed the RN as the “great force for change in France.”

Ladies and gentlemen, dear compatriots. The French have expressed themselves, and this historic election shows when people vote, the people win… The President… has just announced the dissolution of the National Assembly, to return the people to the polls in a few weeks’ time. I can only welcome this; we are ready for it… we are ready to exercise power if the French place their trust in us in these new national elections. We are ready to restore the country to defend the interests of the French people. We are ready to put an end to mass immigration. Ready to [build the strength of the economy] as a priority. And ready to begin the reindustrialization of the country. To be clear, we are ready to straighten out the country, and we are ready to relive France.

As noted by Le Monde, RN gaining 31.5 percent of the votes means that Le Pen and Bardella have achieved the best outcome for any French political party in the European elections in 40 years. This is despite the right-populist vote being somewhat split by a rival party co-led by Le Pen’s niece Marion Marechal Le Pen, who secured an additional five and a half percent.

French far-right Rassemblement National (RN) party leader Marine Le Pen (L) addresses activists as party President Jordan Bardella listens after French President announced he is calling for new general elections on June 30, during an evening gathering on the final day of the European Parliament election, at the Pavillon Chesnaie du Roy in Paris, on June 9, 2024. (Photo by JULIEN DE ROSA / AFP) (Photo by JULIEN DE ROSA/AFP via Getty Images)

Marine Le Pen’s National Rally (RN, Rassemblement National) party is poised to become the largest single party in the European Union after an outstanding result in Sunday’s European Parliament elections. Votes cast across the European Union from Thursday concluded Sunday evening, and exit polls indicate a strong performance by right-wing parties, although perhaps not the landslide some had anticipated.

However, national differences were stark, and France’s outcome was among the most striking. The European grouping for President Emmanuel Macron’s Renaissance party barely secured second place in the Ipsos exit poll — by a scant margin — and lagged significantly behind RN, which is led by party member and Member of the European Parliament Jordan Bardella, garnering more than twice the votes at 31.5 percent compared to 14.7 percent for Renaissance.

This severe blow to President Macron’s authority prompted a swift reaction on Sunday night as he announced the dissolution of the national Parliament for a snap election later this month. Winning that vote would grant Macron a strong national mandate to govern as President for the remainder of his term. However, losing could leave him as a lame duck until April 2027.

It’s a significant risk, but Macron must hope that the French people will approach elections for their critical national parliament with a different perspective than their vote for the more remote European Parliament in Brussels. This phenomenon was evident during Britain’s membership in the European Union, where the Eurosceptic UKIP and later Brexit parties of Nigel Farage were significant winners for Brussels but struggled in Westminster.

Le Pen’s RN has momentum, and with just 21 days until the first round of the snap election, Macron faces a tough challenge in reversing the narrative. But he has made a determined effort already, reports French broadsheet Le Figaro. Announcing the news in a speech on Sunday night, the President stated: “I have decided to give you the choice of our parliamentary future again by voting… [this is a] serious, heavy decision, but above all it is an act of trust,” saying he wants to “let the sovereign people speak.”

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