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French President Emmanuel Macron and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier at a ceremony marking a WWII massacre in southwest France Image: POOL/AFP
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Macron urges French to make 'right choice' in election gamble

28 Comments
By Alice Hackman and Stuart Williams

President Emmanuel Macron on Monday said that he was confident French voters would make the "right choice" in snap elections he called after the far right crushed his centrist alliance in Sunday's EU ballot.

His surprise move came after mainstream centrist parties kept an overall majority in the European Parliament in Sunday's elections, but the far right notched up a string of high-profile victories in Italy, Austria and France.

In Germany, where the three governing coalition parties also performed dismally, centre-left Chancellor Olaf Scholz's spokesman ruled out a snap vote.

Analysts say Macron has taken the risky gamble of dissolving the national parliament in a bid to keep the far-right National Rally (RN) out of power when his second term ends in 2027.

"I am confident in the capacity of the French people to make the right choice for themselves and for future generations," Macron wrote on X on Monday.

His announcement of elections for a new National Assembly on June 30, with a second round on July 7, has sparked widespread alarm, even from within the ranks of his party.

"By playing with fire, the head of state could end up by burning himself and dragging the entire country into the fire," Le Monde wrote in an editorial.

Despite the storm of criticism, Macron appeared unfazed on Monday as he visited the southwestern French village of Oradour-sur-Glane, site of a massacre by Nazi soldiers during World War II, together with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Steinmeier said: "Let us never forget the damage done in Europe by nationalism and hate."

Back in Paris, even some Macron allies expressed dissent over his latest announcement.

Lower-house speaker Yael Braun-Pivet, a senior figure within Macron's party, indicated that forming a coalition with other parties could have been a better "path".

"The president believed that this path did not exist," she told television channel France 2.

Meanwhile, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, a Socialist, described the prospect of elections just weeks before the start of the Paris Olympics as "extremely unsettling".

But International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach played down any direct impact on the event.

Uncertainty around the election also sapped market confidence, with Paris's CAC 40 index closing 1.35 percent lower and the interest rate on French government debt gaining 10 basis points, to 3.22 percent.

In a televised address late on Sunday, Macron warned of the danger of "the rise of nationalists and demagogues" for France and its place in Europe.

He noted that, including the RN, far-right parties in France had managed to take almost 40 percent of the EU Parliament vote.

Macron is hoping to win back the majority he lost in France's lower house in 2022 legislative elections after winning a second term.

But some fear the anti-immigration RN could instead win, forcing Macron to work in an uncomfortable coalition with a far-right prime minister.

RN vice-president Sebastien Chenu said the party's 28-year-old leader Jordan Bardella would be its contender for the post.

Bardella's mentor Marine Le Pen, who was runner-up in the last two presidential elections, has remained party leader in parliament and is largely expected to tilt for the top job again in 2027.

The far right came out on top in France, Italy and Austria, and second in Germany and the Netherlands.

The Kremlin, which hopes the far right would take a softer line on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, said it was "attentively observing" the gains.

The RN came in first with more than 31 percent of votes in France -- its score was more than double that of Macron's list with 14 percent.

The Socialists and hard-left France Unbowed trailed behind with 13 and nine percent each.

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire warned that the election results would have "consequences of unprecedented seriousness for our nation".

The team of Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne, who is also secretary-general of Macron's Renaissance party, told RTL radio he would be "fully engaged" in the battle for parliament seats as well as his job as minister.

Socialist party chief Olivier Faure called for setting up "a popular front against the far right".

On the far right, Marion Marechal, deputy head of the Reconquest party founded by pundit Eric Zemmour and seen as even further to the right of the RN, was meeting Marine Le Pen -- who is her aunt -- and Bardella at the RN headquarters.

Bardella said he had also "stretched out his hand" to the mainstream conservative Republicans party and had spoken with senior members.

Mujtaba Rahman, managing director for Europe at Eurasia Group, said Macron appeared to believe he could defy the polls by confronting France with a choice between the pro-European status quo and a far right that has "a history of admiration for -- and funding by -- Vladimir Putin".

© 2024 AFP

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.


28 Comments

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The French made their choice. A France for the French.

-2 ( +8 / -10 )

Macron urges French to make 'right choice' in election gamble

'Right choice' is a good choice of words in translation as Macron is a center rightist who provides little choice between an alt-right option.

There is a dearth of choice from a real leftm by design in modern G7 representative so-called democracies.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The French made their choice. A France for the French.

That’s all they want.

'Right choice' is a good choice of words in translation as Macron is a center rightist

Far, far from it. Definitely a strong political leftist

who provides little choice between an alt-right option.

Yeah, people are tired of his leftist, globalist, geopolitics.

There is a dearth of choice from a real leftm by design in modern G7 representative so-called democracies.

Seems like the left won’t get chosen on their worst days

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

Is it 1940’s far-right, or 1980’s far-right?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Macron committing Hari Kari. Seppuku.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Is it 1940’s far-right

Most probably 2020s alt-right as they want as usual massive regressive corporate .001% benefiting tax cuts,. As per their corporate funders.

https://www.epi.org/publication/ib364-corporate-tax-rates-and-economic-growth/

0 ( +3 / -3 )

He will be crying about his lost job like the Belgian PM soon enough.

UK and US right behind him in kicking out weak and ineffective incumbents.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Mr Kiplings ,you wonder why American will always rule the world, because of insecure foreigner,in America we believe in confronting our enemies,by fighting them when we see the white of their eyes ,maybe the United World of America,should be imposed when foreigner grow a blackbone

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

They'll make the right choice all right - his party will get turfed out and he'll have to negotiate with a parliament that actually gives a damn about France instead of subjugating it to the EU. But he loves being in the limelight, so he'll stick around as president doing as much damage as he can until his term expires.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Most probably 2020s alt-right as they want as usual massive regressive corporate .001% benefiting tax cuts,. As per their corporate funders.

As they should, poor people can’t provide jobs or employment incentives

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

The "right choice" is clear to the French it seems - getting rid of Macron.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

The far right came out on top in France, Italy and Austria, and second in Germany and the Netherlands.

Don't forget Belgium where the PM resigned after his party dismal showing of 5.9% of the vote.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

The media and elitist politicians consistently mislabel the populist parties as "far right" or even worse, which is completely false. It is simply a populist reaction against extreme leftist globalist overreach, to which the populations are slowly awakening.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Macron appeared to believe he could defy the polls by confronting France with a choice between the pro-European status quo and a far right that has "a history of admiration for -- and funding by -- Vladimir Putin".

Here we have it - Putin has now apparently weaponized 40% of French electorate. What next.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Always a difficult task to lead France - one of the most volatile and divided electorates around.

A real gamble this one.

UK and US right behind him in kicking out weak and ineffective incumbents.

The UK Conservatives are more incompetent than weak or ineffective.

The US election looks a lot tighter plus the UK Conservatives are generally not into crackpot conspiracy theories about stolen elections sold to them by scammers.

Hard to pair them.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The media and elitist politicians consistently mislabel the populist parties as "far right" or even worse, which is completely false. It is simply a populist reaction against extreme leftist globalist overreach, to which the populations are slowly awakening

Far right attempted gaslighting.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

It is simply a populist reaction against extreme leftist globalist overreach, to which the populations are slowly awakening

Again?

I was told that before Bolsonaro and Trump got spanked.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Eman will lead by good example and will be first official French national to fight against Russia.

UA trenches are waiting for this little Napolen.but it may be without Mirage planes from Marie...

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

The media and elitist politicians consistently mislabel the populist parties as "far right" or even worse, which is completely false. It is simply a populist reaction against extreme leftist globalist overreach, to which the populations are slowly awakening

"Far right attempted gaslighting."

Nah, just a simple fact this is.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Nah, just a simple fact this is.

Said every far right gaslighter ever.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Nah, just a simple fact this is

Again?

I was told there was a populist right wave before Macron spanked Le Pen.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

France could end up with its first extreme right-wing government since WW2.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

.Said every far right gaslighter ever.

Just because you deny it, doesnt mean its not a fact, lol. sorry.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

France could end up with its first extreme right-wing government since WW2.

Could happen, who knows. Still if a majority ( or large % ) of French voters elect the right wing party does that mean that all those French voters are right wing extremists? I'd say no, they are just unhappy with the direction Macron has taken the country in, want a change and agree with the policies ( at least some of them ) of the opposition. Same as in many other EU countries apparently, as evidenced by the weekend results.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

I was told a populist right movement was gaining momentum when Boris Johnson’s Tories won in 2019.

The whole thing went t#ts up and his party is looking at defeat.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Nah, just a simple fact this is.......Again? I was told there was a populist right wave before Macron spanked Le Pen.

Again? So according to your opinion there was no populist right wave on the weekend in France. Guess all those media headlines were wrong or fake then. Got it.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

I was told a populist rightwing movement t was taking place when the BNP gained seats in local UK elections over a decade ago.

That went down the crapper pretty sharpish.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

With another G7+EU meeting coming up can anyone name a popular G7 leader? Kishida is just another pea in that unliked pod.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

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