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June 14, 2024
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Why France’s Macron Dissolved Parliament, Called Snap Elections


French President Emmanuel Macron has taken a bold step in response to the recent surge of far-right success in the European Union elections. After the centrist alliance suffered a defeat at the hands of the far-right in EU polls, Mr Macron dissolved the French parliament and called snap legislative elections.

What are snap elections?

An election called earlier than expected or required by law is referred to as a snap poll. It is usually called without much notice or a full term being served. This can happen for various reasons, such as political strategy, a desire to capitalise on favourable conditions or to resolve a deadlock. 

Why Mr Macron dissolved the French Parliament

In the recent European elections, Mr Macron’s centrist party, led by MEP Valerie Hayer, failed to perform on expected lines. Projections suggest they got between 14.8% and 15.2% of the votes which is much less than the 32%-33% the far-right National Rally received. The party’s top candidate was their president, Jordan Bardella, who is only 28 years old.

Mr Macron was re-elected as president in 2022 and he cannot run for president again after his current term ends in 2027.

What did Emmanuel Macron say?

Mr Macron stressed that his decision to dissolve the parliament and call snap elections was not taken lightly. He said, “Far-right parties are progressing everywhere in the continent. It is a situation to which I cannot resign myself.”

Describing the decision as “serious and heavy,” Mr Macron said, “It is an act of confidence. Confidence in you, dear compatriots, and in the capacity of the French people to make the best choice for itself and future generations.”

“I decide to give you the choice,” he said, adding he would let the “sovereign people have their say,” claiming to have “confidence in our democracy.”

When will the elections be held?

The elections will be held per Article 12 of the French constitution, which allows the president to dissolve the National Assembly in times of political turmoil, like when there are disagreements between parliament and the executive branch. After the assembly is dissolved, people have to vote within 20 to 40 days. So, the first round of voting will happen on June 30, and the second round on July 7, Mr Macron announced in a speech Sunday. 

What did the National Rally say?

Jordan Bardella, the president and lead candidate, urged Mr Macron to take this step, stating that French voters have clearly “expressed a desire for change,” The Guardian reported. He said that the country’s verdict is final and cannot be appealed.

Marine Le Pen, the party’s prominent figurehead and presidential candidate, welcomed Mr Macron’s decision, stating that it aligns “with the logic of the institutions of the Fifth Republic”. “[The Party] is ready to take power if the French people have confidence in us in these forthcoming legislative elections,” she said, adding, “We are ready to defend the interests of the French people.” 

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