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Macron dissolves French parliament, calls election after exit polls project far-right gains in EU election

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk June 9, 2024 11:10 PM 2 min read
French President Emmanuel Macron talks during the press conference with the media at the end of the EU Summit in Brussels on Feb. 1, 2024. (Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images)
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French President Emmanuel Macron announced snap elections on June 9, after the far-right National Rally emerged as the projected winner of the French elections for the European Parliament.

National Rally is projected to have won around 32% of the vote, double that of Macron's centrist alliance at 15%. Exit polls suggest the Socialists came third, with 14% of the vote.

Soon after the exit poll results were made public, Macron said that he was dissolving the French parliament to give the French people "the choice of our parliamentary future through the vote."

The snap parliamentary elections will be held on June 30 and July 7.

National Rally President Marine Le Pen responded to Macron's announcement that her party was "ready to take over power if the French give us their trust in the upcoming national elections."

Prior to February 2022, Le Pen openly expressed her admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin and said she did not believe Russia's annexation of Crimea was illegal.

Since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, she claimed to have changed her mind on Moscow.

National Rally is part of the Identity and Democracy (ID) Group in the European Parliament, which is composed of parties traditionally seen as seeking rapprochement with Russia, such as Matteo Salvini's Lega (League) and, until recently, Alternative for Germany (AfD).

AfD was expelled from the ID Group following a series of scandals that included its candidates speaking positively about the Nazi SS and coming under investigation for receiving cash from Moscow.

France has 81 seats in the European Parliament, with the number allocated on the basis of the country's population. Germany has the most seats, at 96.

Members of the European Parliament (MEP) shape and approve legislation, giving them sway over the EU budget and foreign aid, and approve candidates for the European Commission, the bloc's executive arm.

The U.K. will also be voting for a new parliament on July 4, after British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced on May 22 that the country will hold a snap general election.

Why European elections matter for Ukraine
Starting on June 6, citizens of the European Union will head to the voting booths to elect the bloc’s 720-member European Parliament. The election, held between June 6 and June 9 and often downplayed as irrelevant by voters, will have a major impact on EU domestic and foreign policy, among
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