French conservatives in turmoil as leader backs Le Pen alliance for snap elections

The leader of France's main right-wing party on Tuesday said he backed an alliance with the far right of Marine Le Pen in snap legislative elections, triggering a crisis within his own party and fury from the government.

The stunning announcement by the Republicans (LR) leader Eric Ciotti in a lunchtime television interview is the first time in modern French political history that a leader of a traditional party has backed an alliance with the far-right National Rally (RN).

President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday called the elections on June 30, with a second round on July 7, in a major gamble after the RN scored more than double the number of votes of his centrist alliance in the EU elections.

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

With less than three weeks to go before the first round, Macron is facing opposition alliances crystallising on the left and right amid warnings that his bet could backfire.

A Harris Interactive-Toluna poll published on Monday suggested just 19 percent of people would back him, compared to 34 percent for the far-right National Rally.

But in an interview, he ruled out resigning after the poll.

Read more on FRANCE 24 English

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