France’s President Emmanuel Macron Calls Shock Snap Election After Far-Right Victory In European Vote

French President Emmanuel Macron left his country reeling on Sunday after he dissolved parliament and called snap general elections in response to hefty gains by the far-right Rassemblement national (RN) party in European elections.

Around 373 million citizens from 27 countries belonging to the European Union bloc were eligible to vote in polls running from June 6 to 9, to decide who will represent them in the 720-seat European parliament.

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According to preliminary forecasts for France, RN has taken 31.5% of the votes cast there, which will give it roughly 30 of France’s 81 seats. Macron’s Renaissance coalition looks set to come in second with 15.2%, followed by the Socialists with the 14%.

“This is not a good result for the parties which defend Europe, including that of the presidential majority,” Macron said in a televized address.

He noted far-right parties RN and Reconquête had taken 40% of the vote.

“The rise of nationalists and demagogues is a danger to our nation,” he said. “I cannot act as if nothing has happened… I have decided to give you back the parliamentary choice…   and I am therefore dissolving the National Assembley.”

Macron has set the parliamentary elections for June 30 and July 7, with the second round taking place less than a month before France hosts the Olympic Games in Paris.

There were moves to the right in a number of countries across the EU bloc.

In Germany, which holds 96 seats, the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party looked set to come in second with 16% of the vote, a 5% gain on 2019 polls.

The conservative alliance of the Christian Democratic Union and the Christian Social Union held on to its poll position with a projected 30.2% of the vote.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democratic Party (SPD) was forecast to come in third with 13.9%, while the Greens were predicted to take 11.9%, an 8.6 percentage point fall on 2019.

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