Macron calling snap elections could leave France in chaos, Sarkozy warns

Macron calling snap elections could leave France in chaos, Sarkozy warns

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Emmanuel Macron has been warned by a former French president that his decision to call snap elections could plunge France into chaos, as his centrist party languishes third in opinion polls, far behind the far-right National Rally.

Nicolas Sarkozy said dissolving the national assembly was “a major risk” for France, “because it could plunge it into chaos, from which it will have the greatest difficulty emerging”.

“‘Giving the floor to the French people’ to justify the dissolution is a curious argument since this is precisely what more than 25 million French people have just done at the polls,” Sarkozy told Le Journal du Dimanche (JDD), referring to Macron’s response to the European elections on 9 June, when National Rally inflicted a crushing defeat on the president’s party.

“The risk is great [that] they confirm their anger rather than reverse it,” said Sarkozy, the centre-right president of France from 2007-12, who is said to be on good terms with Macron.

Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella are gaining momentum across France, but have not yet published a manifesto.
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French people will vote for a new national assembly in two rounds, on 30 June and 7 July, after Macron’s shock move to call elections three years ahead of schedule.

An opinion poll in the same newspaper by Ifop showed National Rally way ahead with a 35% vote share, the New Popular Front alliance of leftwing parties on 26%, and Macron’s Renaissance on 19%. According to the paper, only 61% of people who voted for Macron in the first round of presidential elections in 2022 plan to back his party on 30 June.

Other polls published over the weekend painted a similar picture, with Macron’s group stuck in third place, trailing far behind National Rally and the second-placed New Popular Front, which unites the Socialists, Greens, Communists and Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s far-left France Unbowed party. A survey by Opinionway for CNews, Europe 1 and the JDD put National Rally on 32%, followed by the New Popular Front on 25% and Macron’s party on 19%.

Separately, the former prime minister Lionel Jospin told Le Monde that calling snap elections was “not responsible” and opened the door to the far-right taking power. “President Macron has opened the space to National Rally” and allowed “this party of the extreme right to knock on the doors of power”, said Jospin, a Socialist who held the office between 1997 and 2002 and who was in political “cohabitation” with the centre-right president, Jacques Chirac. Macron should have consulted his prime minister, and the presidents of the senate and national assembly, he said, adding: “Once again, Emmanuel Macron has decided alone.”

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“The president says that he is giving a voice to people, but our fellow citizens are going to have to take very heavy decisions in a very short time. The legislative elections campaign is going to last less than 15 days. This is not responsible.”

In another twist in a tumultuous campaign, the Socialist former president François Hollande announced he was planning to run again for the national assembly. It was “an exceptional decision for an exceptional situation”, he said, adding: “I am not seeking anything for myself … I just want to be of service.”

In a cool response, the head of the Socialist party’s election commission, Pierre Jouvet, said it “takes note” of his candidacy, Agence France-Presse reported.

Speaking to Le Figaro, National Rally’s Marine Le Pen railed against what she called the “Islamo-leftist bloc” and said she would not call for Macron’s resignation in the event of a large victory for her party.

She said: “I am respectful of institutions; I am not calling for institutional chaos. There will simply be a cohabitation.”

The Guardian