France: Macron Calls Elections for Lower House of Parliament After Failure in Euro Elections

The election will be held in two rounds, on June 30 and July 7, 2024

French President Emmanuel Macron has dissolved the lower house of parliament and set the first round of elections for June 30.

The move follows the results of the June 9 European elections, which were won by Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella’s right-wing Rassemblement Nationale (National Rally) party. It got twice as much as the President’s Renaissance Alliance. As soon as exit polls were released on the evening of June 9, which gave Renaissance nearly 15% against more than 30% for the Rassemblement Nationale, Macron announced the dissolution of the National Assembly and early elections for the lower house, to be held in two rounds, on June 30 and July 7, 2024.

“I can’t pretend at the end of this day that nothing happened,” Macron said. He noted that early elections are “a serious, difficult event, but above all, it is a show of confidence. Believe in yourself, my dear compatriots, in the ability of the French people to make the right choice for themselves and for future generations. Believe in our democracy. In France, representatives of the extreme right won 40% of the votes cast. That’s something I can’t deal with.”

The most critical tones against Macron’s move came from Jean-Luc Mélenchon of France Unconquered, a left-wing party. He expressed regret that the President had put at stake not his mandate but that of the National Assembly by “sending home only those who were more legitimate than himself,” i.e. the deputies.

In recent months, Macron has been paying the price for falling support at home and for putting a lot of energy into foreign policy, such as raising the degree of opposition to Russia. These actions did not seem to have had the expected effect, nor did the reshuffles in the government. In January 2024, he appointed Gabriel Attal, who was not even 40 years old, as prime minister. He was chosen to try to stop Jordan Bardella, the young heir to Le Pen.

To complete the picture of the results of the elections to the European Parliament in France, it should be noted that the list headed by Raphael Glucksmann (Socialist Party) came in third place with 14%. The electoral threshold is surpassed by the left-wing radicals from Unconquered France (8.3%-8.7%), the Republicans led by François-Xavier Bellamy (7%), and the extreme right-wing Reconquista list of Marion Maréchal, niece of Marine Le Pen (5.3%).