Kylian Mbappé calls first round of French elections ‘catastrophic’ after country’s lurch to the far-right

Soccer star Kylian Mbappé has called the first round of French elections “catastrophic” after last Sunday’s results saw the country lurch towards the far-right with anti-immigration party National Rally (RN) leading first place.

The captain for France’s national soccer team, who is preparing for Les Bleus’ Euro 2024 quarterfinal against Portugal in Hamburg on Friday, urged the French public to vote saying “now more than ever” it was needed.

“There’s an emergency, we can’t let our country in the hands of these people, it’s really urgent,” Mbappe said at a media conference in Hamburg, Germany.

President Emmanuel Macron’s shock announcement in June to call snap parliamentary elections plunged France into political uncertainty and has roiled financial markets, with the far right having a shot at real political power.

After a high turnout at the polls, last Sunday the RN clinched 33.15% of the vote, while the left-wing New Popular Front (NFP) coalition came second and President Emmanuel Macron’s party slumped to third.

If the RN assumes power, it would become the first far-right party to enter the French government since World War II – although nothing is certain ahead of Sunday’s second round.

The second round of voting is poised to take place this coming Sunday and Mbappé hopes “everyone will mobilize to vote.”

“We really hope that it’ll change and that everyone will mobilize to vote and make the right choice,” said the France captain.

This isn’t the first time that Mbappé has spoken about French politics while he’s been with the French national soccer team at Euro 2024.

“This is a never-seen-before event,” France’s talisman, told reporters, per Reuters, last month. “And that is why I want to talk to the whole of the French people, but also the youth.

“We are a generation that can make a difference. We see the extremes are knocking on the door of power and we have the opportunity to shape our country’s future.”

Mbappé, whose family originally come from Algeria and Cameroon, stressed that he didn’t want to “represent a country” that didn’t embody his “values.”

Earlier this week, Mbappé’s Les Bleus teammate Jules Kounde – a 25-year old French Beninese national – used a media conference during the Euros tournament to share what he called his own “political position.”

“I was disappointed to see the direction France is taking, with strong support for a party against our values … I believe it’s important to block the extreme right, the National Rally, because this party will not lead our country towards more freedom,” Kounde told journalists after the last-16 match between France and Belgium on Monday.

CNN’s Niamh Kennedy and Saskya Vandoorne contributed to this report.

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