Macron calls snap French election and Belgian PM to resign after disastrous poll results

World

French President Emmanuel Macron has dissolved France’s National Assembly and called a snap election after his party suffered a calamitous result in elections to the European Parliament.

Marine le Pen’s hard right National Rally party won about 32% of the vote – a 10 point increase on the last EU election in 2019.

It is more than double the 15% taken by Mr Macron’s centrist, pro-European Renaissance party, according to exit polls.

Mr Macron said he could not “pretend nothing had happened” and admitted the EU election was “no good” for his government.

The “rise of nationalists” is a danger to France and to Europe, he said.

Mr Macron is a “weakened president” said Jordan Bardella, National Rally’s lead candidate.

Image:
Jordan Bardella, National Rally’s lead candidate. Pic: AP

Speaking at the Elysee Palace, Mr Macron said: “I’ve decided to give you back the choice of our parliamentary future through the vote.

“I am therefore dissolving the National Assembly.”

There will be two rounds of voting on 30 June and 7 July, he added.

“I have heard your message, your concerns, and I will not leave them unanswered,” Mr Macron said.

“France needs a clear majority in order to act with serenity and harmony.”

Ms Le Pen said her party was “ready to take over power if the French give us their trust in the upcoming national elections”.

She added: “We are ready to put the country back on its feet. We are ready to defend the interests of the French people. We are ready to put an end to mass immigration.”

Donald Tusk, the prime minister of Poland, said Mr Macron had “no choice” about dissolving parliament.

“This is a lesson for us,” he added.

Image:
Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella at National Rally meeting. Pic: Reuters

A similar move to the right is underway in Germany, too.

The Alternative for Germany party (AfD) appears to have taken second place in EU elections there, while Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats recorded their worst ever result.

Projections showed the AfD’s vote had risen to 16.5% – up from 11% in 2019.

Its gains appear to have come from young people in particular.

Co-leader Alice Weidel said her party had done well because “people have become more anti-European”.

She added: “People are annoyed by so much bureaucracy from Brussels.”

The combined result for the three parties in the German governing coalition hardly topped 30%.

It appears to have been a disappointing election for green parties.

In Germany, they are predicted to fall from 20% to 12%, while further losses are expected in France and several other EU nations.

Some 373 million Europeans across all 27 EU countries were eligible to vote – and they have elected 720 representatives.

Members take their seats in mid-July.

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