Parisians face snap elections after far right’s EU victory

PARIS — France is bracing for snap legislative elections after President Emmanuel Macron’s unexpected call for a new vote on Monday, following a significant loss to Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally (RN) in the European Parliament elections.

Macron’s surprise decision, seen as a high-stakes gamble for his political future, could potentially hand significant power to the far right, sidelining his presidency three years before his term ends. The move signals a dramatic shift in French politics, as the far right, long marginalized, now stands poised to gain substantial influence.

Pauline Durand, a voter for Le Pen’s RN, expressed little surprise at the party’s success in the European Parliament elections, citing societal issues in France. “We’ll see what happens next,” she said.

In contrast, Gabriel Hallali, a surgeon, described RN’s rise as a “historic catastrophe,” warning that France was losing touch with its history. Meanwhile, Macron supporter Nathalie Gabert called on fellow citizens to vote “for democracy and for France.”

The legislative elections are scheduled for June 30, just weeks before the Paris Olympics, with a potential second round in July. Analysts suggest that Macron’s decision aims to capitalize on his weak position by reclaiming the initiative and forcing RN into an election mode sooner than anticipated.

The forthcoming elections are set to be a critical test for France’s political landscape, potentially reshaping the balance of power and determining the country’s direction for years to come.