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Disavowed by the polls, Emmanuel Macron dissolves the National Assembly

Photo: Hannah McKay Agence France-Presse For Emmanuel Macron, this defeat in the European elections appears not only as a defeat for his government, but as a personal failure.

Theater in France! The large victory of the National Rally (RN) in the European elections had been announced by all the polls. The news therefore followed its course until, to everyone's surprise around 9 p.m., President Emmanuel Macron announced live on television the dissolution of the National Assembly and called legislative elections.

No one expected such a clap of thunder. Emmanuel Macron therefore chose to play down his game and call the polls in the face of a historic victory for the far-right party. With 31.5% of the votes, the RN achieved a result never before seen in a European election since that of Simone Veil (UDF-RPR) 40 years ago. But above all, these elections represent a real rout for the presidential party, which does not even reach half the score of its rival (14.5%) and arrives practically tied with the socialist list led by Raphaël Glucksmann (14%).

“After having carried out the consultations provided for in article 12 of our Constitution, I have decided to give you back the choice of our parliamentary future by vote, declared President. I am therefore dissolving the National Assembly this evening. In a few moments I will sign the decree convening the legislative elections, which will be held on June 30 for the first round and July 7 for the second. »

The decision caused a real thunderclap, even if, for several weeks and supported by the polls, Jordan Bardella “solemnly” called on the President of the Republic “to take note of this new political situation” and “to organize new legislative elections”.

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The gesture is historic, but corresponds to the spirit of the Fifth Republic. Contested at the polls, General de Gaulle and François Mitterrand dissolved the National Assembly several times. The last dissolution dates back to Jacques Chirac in 1997. It led to the election of the socialist Lionel Jospin as head of government and several years of cohabitation between a right-wing president and a left-wing prime minister.

“The dissolution was never done for the convenience of the president, but to resolve a political crisis,” said Jacques Chirac. A scenario that could well repeat itself in less than a month and see Jordan Bardella ascend to the post of Prime Minister in just a few weeks.

This vote is “final », decided Marine Le Pen just a few minutes after the announcement of the dissolution. “We are ready to exercise power if the French trust us during the next legislative elections, we are ready to restore the country, to defend the interests of France, ready to put an end to this mass immigration, […] ready to revive France. » Visibly satisfied, the leader of the RN concluded that “when the people vote, the people win”.

For Emmanuel Macron, this defeat in the European elections appears not only as a defeat for his government, but also as a personal failure. Never has a president been so personally invested in a European election. Contrary to tradition in this type of election, his prime minister, Gabriel Attal, had chosen to debate directly with Jordan Bardella. The president even pushed his prerogatives to the point of proposing a debate to Marine Le Pen and using the celebrations of the 80th anniversary of the Normandy landings to try to convince voters.

For the newspaper Le Parisien,who documented the progression of the RN vote during this election, it is not a “breakthrough”, but a real “tidal wave”. On the map published by the daily, with the exception of large cities, almost all of France is blue. Three weeks before the first round of the legislative elections, the leading party in France therefore presents itself in a position of strength. Polls give him a majority of deputies. It remains to be seen to what extent and whether this can be done without a coalition.

On Sunday evening, the campaign seemed to have already begun. “Stunned by such behavior,” the socialist Raphaël Glucksmann seemed to have already forgotten his good performance. “Macron complied with Jordan Bardella’s demands,” he said. “It’s a dangerous game with democracy and European institutions.” The leader of La France Insoumise, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who campaigned in this election only on Palestine, called in his usual style for “the new France” to “stand up.” Éric Zemmour, the president of Reconquête, whose list barely exceeded the 5% allowing access to the European Parliament, called for the union of the right. “I appeal to the National Rally, refuse the monopoly that only leads to defeat, accept the coalition. »

The most stunned by this announcement seemed to be the head of the list of the Republicans, François-Xavier Bellamy, whose party risks literally being torn between support for the majority and the RN. Among the most worried were many elected officials from the majority who, faced with the announced progression of the RN, risk losing their seats, even if one of Emmanuel Macron's historic supporters, François Bayrou, welcomed “a risk taken” by the president to “get the country out of the doldrums”.

A few weeks before the Olympic Games, France finds itself immersed in historic elections, which could very likely give power to the National Rally and propel Jordan Bardella to the post of Prime Minister.

Many analysts, such as the former Socialist Party baron Julien Dray, speak of “a poker game”. A word taken up by Le Figaro, where Guillaume Tabard writes that “by attempting a poker game, Emmanuel Macron is playing the apprentice sorcerer”.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116