Macron urges French to make ‘right choice’ in poll gamble

PARIS   -   President Emmanuel Macron said Monday he was confident the French would make the “right choice” in snap elections he called after the far right inflicted a crushing defeat on his centrist alliance in EU elections.

His surprise move came after mainstream centrist parties kept an overall majority in the European Parliament in Sunday’s poll, but the far right notched up a string of high-profile victories in Italy, Austria and France. In Germany, where the three ruling coalition parties also performed dismally, centre-left Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s spokesman on Monday ruled out a snap poll.

Analysts say the French leader has taken the extremely risky gamble of calling for snap polls in a bid to keep the far-right National Rally (RN) out of power when his second term ends in 2027.

“I am confident in the capacity of the French people to make the right choice for themselves and for future generations,” Macron wrote on X on Monday morning.

“My sole ambition is to be useful to our country that I love so much.”

Macron’s announcement of elections for a new National Assembly on June 30, with a second round on July 7 in France, has sparked widespread alarm, even from within the ranks of his own party.

“By playing with fire, the head of state could end up by burning himself and dragging the entire country into the fire,” Le Monde wrote in an editorial.

Lower house speaker Yael Braun-Pivet, a senior figure within Macron’s party, on Monday morning appeared to express some dissent, indicating that forming a coalition with other parties could have been a better “path”.

“The president believed that this path did not exist... I take note of the decision,” she told the France 2 television channel.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, a Socialist, described the prospect of elections just weeks before the start of the Paris Olympics as “extremely unsettling”.

But the International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach played down any direct impact on the event.

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