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Russian Roulette: Why Macron's Snap Elections May Not End Well for Him

© AP Photo / Martin MeissnerFrench President Emmanuel Macron grimaces on the town hall balcony on occasion of the Charlemagne Prize awarding in Aachen, Germany, Thursday, May 10, 2018
French President Emmanuel Macron grimaces on the town hall balcony on occasion of the Charlemagne Prize awarding in Aachen, Germany, Thursday, May 10, 2018 - Sputnik International, 1920, 10.06.2024
French President Emmanuel Macron has called for snap elections later this month after Marine Le Pen's National Rally outperformed his party in the European Parliament elections. What's behind the move?
Emmanuel Macron's Renaissance sustained defeat after receiving around 15 percent of the vote in the European Parliament elections, whereas the French conservative National Rally got around 31-32 percent.
The National Rally's success has prompted the president to announce his intent to dissolve the French Parliament and hold snap elections. It is expected the vote will take place in two rounds on June 30 and July 7.

"The president had no choice but to acknowledge the fact that his own party had just suffered a major defeat," Massimiliano Bonne, political analyst, whose research focuses on EU foreign policy, told Sputnik. "He had to seize the moment to regain control of history. By calling snap elections, Macron is not giving the opposition parties much time to organize."

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The right-wing National Rally, formerly known as the National Front, had been headed by Marine Le Pen until 2021 and is currently led by her successor Jordan Bardella. The Eurosceptic party has come out on top amid the ongoing rise of the right in Europe. Although the centrist European People's Party (EPP) has retained its dominance in the EU Parliament, EU conservative parties made considerable gains.

"Dissolving without giving anyone time to organize or campaign is playing Russian roulette with the country's fate," Bonne noted. "Political experts mention a more Machiavellian tactic: Macron wants the [National Rally] to gain power and become unpopular before the 2027 presidential election. Although he cannot run for reelection, Macron wants to ensure the survival of his political party at the national and EU levels."

According to the pundit, Macron believes he has very little to lose and much to gain by setting conditions for the National Rally to win, as he hopes his political opponents would fail. If they win and demonstrate poor performance, Macron's party may regain control of the next presidential cycle.
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The French president is also banking on the supposed fear of the hardline conservatives in certain parts of the French electorate, the expert continued.
"It may not work this time. I don't think the presidential majority is strong enough to really trigger such a reaction of unification to protect the system against the National Rally," Bonne said.
Time Magazine notes that if the National Rally wins the majority in the French National Assembly, Macron will have to name a prime minister with "different views" and "share power" with his political opponents.

Le Pen welcomed Macron's move: "We’re ready to exercise power if the French people place their trust in us in these future legislative elections," she said. "We’re ready to turn the country around, ready to defend the interests of the French, ready to put an end to mass immigration, ready to make the purchasing power of the French a priority."

The magazine emphasized that Macron's party defeat coincided with the French president's call for the EU's wide effort to continue arming Ukraine and boost the bloc's military industry.
According to Bonne, it is unclear whether the president's party failure is related to Macron's bellicosity, including his calls for sending NATO troops to Ukraine. Bonne further indicated it appears as though Macron indeed got himself into trouble given EU member states' opposition to the radical measure.

"He caused some confusion among France's main allies: statements about sending soldiers, for example, were quickly rejected by many European countries and NATO members," Bonne said. "In France, however, the opposition accuses Macron of adopting a more intransigent approach towards Russia for purely political reasons, with an eye to the European elections."

It is not the first time a French president has called snap elections: in 1997, then-conservative President Jacques Chirac resorted to the option and prompted the formation of a left-wing majority in the Parliament. Chirac was forced to appoint Socialist Lionel Jospin as a prime minister and had no say over a number of major reforms carried out by his left-wing opponents.
French presidential election candidate for the far-right Front National party, Marine Le Pen, left, and French presidential election candidate for the En Marche ! movement, Emmanuel Macron, pose prior to the start of a live broadcast face-to-face televised debate in La Plaine-Saint-Denis, north of Paris, May 3, 2017. It's meant to be the climax of France's presidential campaign. Centrist French President Emmanuel Macron and far-right contender Marine Le Pen are facing each other Wednesday April 20, 2022 evening in a one-on-one televised debate that promises to be challenging for both of them _ and may be decisive ahead of Sunday's runoff vote.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 30.05.2024
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