France’s Macron calls snap election in huge gamble after EU polls debacle

French President Emmanuel Macron said Sunday he was dissolving the National Assembly and calling early legislative elections, setting off a political earthquake after his party suffered a humbling defeat at the hands of the far right in elections for the European Parliament.

Macron’s decision represents a major roll of the dice, with France’s far right polling at its highest-ever level, virtually all other parties in disarray, and the Paris Olympics just around the corner.

The call for snap polls follows a bruising defeat in Sunday’s EU elections, in which the National Rally (RN) of Marine Le Pen won 31.5 percent of the vote, according to Ipsos projections – more than double the support for Macron’s party.

In an address to the nation, the French president said he could not ignore the warning from voters, noting that in total far-right parties in France had won almost 40 percent of the vote. He said elections for the National Assembly would be called for June 30, with a second-round vote on July 7.

“This is an essential time for clarification,” he said. “I have heard your message, your concerns and I will not leave them unanswered ... France needs a clear majority to act in serenity and harmony.”

The announcement was naturally welcomed by Le Pen, whose National Rally will have its best chance yet of seizing power in the upcoming parliamentary vote.

Read more on FRANCE 24 English

Read also:
'I decided to give you the choice': Macron's gamble to call snap French elections
EU parliament: Four things to know about the European elections
Defence, migration and the Green Deal: Key issues at stake in the EU elections