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Macron announces French election, a gamble

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On the surface, there is no logic in calling an election from a position of extreme weakness. But that is what President Emmanuel Macron did. France holds early parliamentary elections After suffering humiliation from the far right.

After Macron was handed a crushing defeat by the National Rally led by Marine Le Pen and her popular protégé Jordan Bardella in Sunday’s European Parliament elections, Macron may be able to do nothing and reshuffle the government, or simply change tack, tightening controls on immigration and abandoning controversial plans to tighten unemployment benefit rules.

Instead, in 2017, at age 39, Macron was elected president on the strength of his risk-taking spirit. Choose gambling France voted in favor of one resolution on Sunday, only to vote against another a few weeks later.

“I am as shocked as almost everyone else,” said Alain Duhamel, the renowned writer and author of “Brave Emmanuel,” a book about Mr. Macron. “It’s not madness, it’s not desperation, but it’s a huge risk for an impulsive person who prefers to take the initiative rather than be controlled by events.”

France was in a state of panic on Monday. The stock market plunged. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said Paris was a city that would Hosting the Olympic Games She said she was “shocked” by the “disturbing” decision, which Le Parisien daily called a “bolt from the blue” on its front page.

For Le Monde, it was “a leap in the void.” Raphaël Glucksmann, whose resurgent center-left Socialist Party came third among French parties in the European elections, accused Macron of “playing a dangerous game.”

France is always a mystery, its perpetual discontent and restlessness at odds with its prosperity and beauty, but this time it was an unusual surprise. After the National Rally defeated the coalition led by his Ennahda party with 31.37% of the vote, Mr Macron has effectively called his country’s bluff, asking whether France is really ready for the far right to take power or is just venting.

The risk is that in about a month, Macron will have to govern with Bardella, 28, who represents everything Macron hates. Macron may have to swallow his pride and do so if the nationalist, anti-immigrant National Rally wins an outright majority in the 577-member National Assembly (unlikely) or simply emerges as the strongest party by far (more likely).

Le Pen aims to win the presidency in 2027, so she will almost certainly pass the premiership to Bardella, who leads the party’s European election campaign.

France will face the appointment of the far right through senior political posts, an idea that has been unthinkable since the Vichy government that ruled France from 1940 to 1944 in collaboration with the Nazis.

Why play with fire like this? “It’s not the same election, it’s not the same form of voting, it’s not the same bet,” said Jean-Philippe Derosier, a professor of public law at the University of Lille. “Macron obviously thinks that having a possible National Rally prime minister under his control is the least bad option than having Le Pen win in 2027.”

In other words, Mr. Macron, who is term-limited and will leave office in 2027, may be mulling over the idea that three years of the National Rally in power — transforming it from a protest party to one with onerous government responsibilities — will prevent its inevitable rise.

It’s one thing to denounce the fringe, but quite another to govern a debt-ridden, polarized country so angry about immigration, crime and the cost of living that many French seem driven by a sentiment of “enough is enough.”

As in other Western societies, including the United States, there is a widespread sense of alienation, even neglect, among people outside the knowledge economy network cities, which has led to a widespread belief that the current system needs to be completely destroyed.

Le Pen declared on Sunday that “the era of globalism, which has caused so much suffering in the world, is over,” a bold prediction that seemed to come as mainstream pro-European parties won about 60 percent of the vote in European parliamentary elections despite the rise of the far right.

The French call it “coexistence,” and it is not unheard of for a president of one party and a prime minister of another to emerge — most recently the center-right Gaullist Jacques Chirac, who governed with the Socialist prime minister, Lionel Jospin, from 1997 to 2002. France survived, and Mr. Chirac was re-elected.

But never before has there been such a wide ideological gulf, even over the idea of ​​French values ​​and the central importance of the European Union to continental freedom, as there is between Macron and Prime Minister National Rally.

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