10 Jun 2024

Explained: Macron’s election gamble after far-right victory

Europe Editor and Presenter

President Emmanuel Macron of France has called for the snappiest of snap elections. Why has he done that?

President Emmanuel Macron of France has called for the snappiest of snap elections for the assembly, the parliament of France, in less than three weeks’ time.

Why has he done that?

He’s done that because he’s very upset by the result of the European elections, where his own party, the party he helped to create, has lost so much of the vote, it’s now half as strong as the far-right Rassemblement National, the National Rally.

What he’s basically asked the French public to do is to say, what kind of country do we want to be? Do we want to be run by the far-right, or do we want to be run, as we always have been, by the centre-right or the centre-left?

If the answer is, we’re happy with the far right, we’re going to be a different kind of France, that’s really bad news for Macron. Because for the last three years of his presidency, he will have his wings very much clipped.

His reform agenda for France will be in the dust, and also he will not be on the European stage with the kind of confidence that we’ve seen him have in recent years.

If the gamble pays off, then yes, he is still the most powerful politician in Europe if you like. But also things that we’ve got used to, like support for Ukraine, support for a European green agenda, all those things have another chance of surviving for at least three years.

So what happens here in the next few weeks matters enormously, to the rest of Europe by the way. And also, don’t forget, this is the city that’s about to host the Olympics this summer. There’s a lot going on in Paris.