Emmanuel Macron dissolves France’s National Assembly after far-right surge in EU elections

French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron prepare to vote during the European election(Hannah McKay/Pool via AP)French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron prepare to vote during the European election(Hannah McKay/Pool via AP)
French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron prepare to vote during the European election(Hannah McKay/Pool via AP)
Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally party is well ahead in the EU election

French President Emmanuel Macron said he was dissolving the National Assembly and calling a snap parliamentary election after his party suffered a heavy defeat in elections for the European Parliament.

In an address to the nation from the Elysee presidential 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.”

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The vote will take place in two rounds on June 30 and July 7, he said.

The move comes as first projected results from France on Sunday put Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally party well ahead in the European Union’s parliamentary election, defeating Mr Macron’s pro-European centrists.

Far-right parties have made big gains at the European Parliament as the Greens took a major hit at Sunday’s European elections, according to initial projections. The estimates aggregated by the EU parliament are based on exit polls or other survey data, along with projections that may include some partial election returns.

The two mainstream and pro-European groups, the Christian Democrats and the Socialists, remained the dominant forces.

National Rally dominated the polls in France standing at just over 30 per cent or about twice as much as Macron’s pro-European centrist party that is projected to reach around 15 per cent.

In Germany, the most populous nation in the 27-member bloc, projections indicated that the extreme right Alternative for Germany (AfD) overcame a string of scandals involving its top candidate to rise to 16.5 per cent from 11 per cent in 2019 and become the second biggest party.

In comparison, the combined result for the three parties in the German governing coalition barely topped 30 per cent.

“After all the prophecies of doom, after the barrage of the last few weeks, we are the second strongest force,” said AfD leader Alice Weidel.

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The European Union kept the hard right to the fringes of politics for decades. With its strong showing in these elections, the far right could now become a major player in policies ranging from migration to security and climate.

In sharp contrast, the Greens were predicted to fall from 20 per cent to 12 per cent in Germany, a traditional bulwark for environmentalists, with more losses expected in France and several other EU nations.

Their defeat could well have an impact on the EU’s overall climate change policies, still the most progressive across the globe.

The centre-right Christian Democratic bloc of EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, which already weakened its green credentials ahead of the polls, dominated in Germany with almost 30 per cent, beating the Social Democratic party of Chancellor Olaf Scholz, which fell to 14 per cent, even behind the AfD.

As well as France, the hard right, which focused its campaign on migration and crime, was expected to make significant gains in Italy, where Premier Giorgia Meloni was tipped to consolidate her power.

Voting was continue in Italy until late into the evening and many of the 27 member states have not yet released any projections.

Nonetheless, data already released confirmed earlier predictions.

With the centre losing seats to hard right parties, the EU could find it harder to pass legislation and decision-making could at times be paralysed in the world’s biggest trading bloc.

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EU legislators, who serve a five-year term in the 720-seat parliament, have a say in issues from financial rules to climate and agriculture policy.

They approve the EU budget, which bankrolls priorities including infrastructure projects, farm subsidies and aid delivered to Ukraine.

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