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Macron says election decision aimed to avoid disarray in Autumn

Ania Nussbaum, Bloomberg News on

Published in News & Features

Emmanuel Macron again sought to explain his decision to dissolve parliament, saying he aimed to take into account the defeat his party suffered in European elections and to avoid an even greater risk of turmoil to come.

In an editorial published in regional newspapers, Macron contended that he had made his decision in the interest of the country above all else, including personal considerations.

“This dissolution was the only possible choice both to recognize your vote in the European elections, to respond to the disarray already here and the greater disarray to come,” Macron wrote.

In European parliamentary elections this month, Macron’s party and its allies got just 14.6% of the vote, compared with 31.4% for Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally. He announced that he was dissolving parliament that evening and set elections for June 30 and July 7. Polls over the past few days have shown the National Rally ahead in first-round voting intentions, followed by an alliance of leftist parties, with Macron’s group trailing in third.

Just changing the prime minister or government would have been “easy for me. But it wouldn’t have fixed any problem,” Macron wrote.

In the letter, Macron said he opted to hold elections now because opposition parties were planning on forcing out his government later in the year, “which would have plunged our country into crisis at the very moment” it needs to pass the annual budget.

Elisabeth Borne, who was prime minister until January, said in Le Monde last week that her government had been able to pass some legislation with votes from other parties. On other bills, such as the budget or retirement reform, it used a constitutional provision known as 49.3 that allows the government to bypass parliament.

Some members of his movement, including the former head of the National Assembly, Yael Braun-Pivet, are now campaigning without Macron’s face on their leaflets. Former prime minister Edouard Philippe, who heads an allied party, said Macron “killed the presidential majority.”

 

Voter Message

Macron said he had gotten the message from voters.

“I’m not blind: I’m conscious of the democratic malaise,” he wrote. “This rift between the people and those who run the country, which we have not managed to bridge.”

Still, he claimed his movement was the the best rampart against “the far right and left,” referring to the National Rally and the New Popular Front. The latter group brings together the Socialists, Communists, Greens and the far-left France Unbowed.

Macron repeated that he was not planning on resigning before the end of his mandate in May 2027.

“I know that, for many of you, this has come as a surprise, giving rise to concern, rejection and sometimes even anger directed at me. I understand it and I hear it,” he wrote. “Yes, the way we govern has to change profoundly,” he said, echoing past pledges to change his top-down governance style.


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