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Macron's snap election gamble will have repercussions for France and EU
Macron's snap election gamble will have repercussions for France and EU | Europe In :60

Macron's snap election gamble will have repercussions for France and EU

Carl Bildt, former prime minister of Sweden and co-chair of the European Council on Foreign Relations, shares his perspective on European politics from Tabiano Castello, Italy.

Did French President Emmanuel Macron make a grave mistake by calling for parliamentary elections now?

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Eric Ciotti speaks to media in front of the LR heaquarters in Paris, France on June 11, 2024. The president of the Republicains, Eric Ciotti, announced on TF1 on Tuesday 11 June that he would like his party to form an alliance with the Rassemblement National for the legislative elections.

Photo by Eliot Blondet/ABACAPRESS.COM via Reuters

France’s center right splits over cooperating with Le Pen

The leader of France’s center-right party, Les Republicains, set off a firestorm on Tuesday by suggesting he would be open to an alliance with the far-right National Rally in upcoming snap elections. Éric Ciotti said his party’s dismal performance in European parliament elections over the weekend — fifth place, and just six seats — meant he felt obligated to work with Marine Le Pen to fend off the “threat to the nation” from the left wing and centrist parties.

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Macron's call for a snap election in France is a huge gamble
Why France President Macron is calling for a snap election | Europe In :60

Macron's call for a snap election in France is a huge gamble

What happened in the European Parliament elections? Why is President Macron calling for a snap election in France? Carl Bildt, former prime minister of Sweden and co-chair of the European Council on Foreign Relations, shares his perspective on European politics from Berlin, Germany.

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Marine Le Pen, president of the French far-right National Rally (Rassemblement National) party parliamentary group, gestures during the party's campaign for the EU elections, in Paris, France, on June 2, 2024.

REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Viewpoint: Far right poised for gains in EU elections

Nearly 400 million people across the 27 countries of the EU will be eligible to vote from June 6-9 for members of the European Parliament. These representatives will serve a five-year term and be charged with passing and amending EU legislation. But their first order of business will be to elect the president of the European Commission, the EU’s executive body. They will vote on a candidate proposed by the European Council, which comprises the EU heads of state or government, based on the parliamentary election results.

Amid intensifying economic concerns and longstanding fears of migration, far-right parties are expected to expand their parliamentary representation. We asked Eurasia Group experts Anna-Carina Hamker and Mujtaba Rahman why that is and what this strong showing could mean for EU policy and politics over the next five years.

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Which authoritarian is “best of the worst”? Gideon Rachman's favorite strongman
Which Authoritarian Is “Best of the Worst”? | Gideon Rachman's Favorite Strongman | GZERO World

Which authoritarian is “best of the worst”? Gideon Rachman's favorite strongman

Gideon Rachman, chief foreign affairs columnist at the Financial Times, has just published a new book about autocrats, so Ian Bremmer puts him on the spot on GZERO World.

Which one appeals to you the most?

"That is difficult. I wouldn't say ... I'm running desperately through my head," says Rachman, before settling on one autocrat he's not a fan of but concedes is at least "an interesting figure."

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French President Emmanuel Macron gestures as he arrives to deliver a speech after being re-elected as president.

REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

Can Macron unite a divided France?

Reflecting on Emmanuel Macron’s victory in France's presidential runoff, Tom McTague, writing for The Atlantic, referred to British PM Winston Churchill’s disdain for another French leader: Charles de Gaulle. Churchill was asked if de Gaulle was a great man. “He is selfish, he is arrogant, he believes he is the center of the world,” Churchill replied. “You are quite right. He is a great man.”

“Something similar might be true of Emmanuel Macron,” wrote McTague.

Macron can afford to be smug about some of his achievements. After all, he is the first French president to win a second term in some 20 years – the French are famous for rejecting incumbents. The 44-year-old centrist, a former banker, has only run for elected office twice – for the presidency in 2017 and 2022 – and he clinched the top job both times.

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Macron celebrates his victory during a rally at the Champ de Mars in Paris.

JB Autissier/Panoramic

Macron beats Le Pen, encore

Sometimes the polls aren’t wrong. On Sunday, centrist French President Emmanuel Macron defeated far-right hopeful Marine Le Pen in a rerun of their 2017 presidential runoff.

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Emmanuel Macron et Marine Le Pen

Frederic Chambert / Panoramic

What We're Watching: Le Pen-Macron debate, round two in Ukraine, China's big Pacific move, Israel-Hamas flare-up

France’s moment of truth: Le Pen and Macron go head-to-head

Ahead of the second round of voting in France’s presidential elections on April 24, President Emmanuel Macron and his rival Marine Le Pen will go head-to-head in a live TV debate on Wednesday. Le Pen, head of the far-right National Rally, won 23% percent of the first-round vote on April 10, just five points behind the incumbent. (Macron’s lead in the polls is now believed to be as much as 12 points.) Indeed, the debate will be a crucial moment in the tighter-than-expected race for the Élysée. Le Pen is vying for a comeback: last time the two candidates debated in the 2017 runoff, she was accused of being light on policy and heavy on insults. Le Pen will want to emphasize her populist, anti-establishment credentials that have proven popular with the electorate – particularly young voters – while playing down claims that she is chummy with alleged war criminal Vladimir Putin. Macron, on the other hand, will try to play up his progressive bonafides to appeal to younger voters who cast their first-round vote for far-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon – who reaped 22% of the vote – but are inclined to stay home on Sunday.
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