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France’s Right-Wing Leader Le Pen Projected to Win Snap Election



France's Right-Wing Leader Le Pen Projected to Win Snap Election
Marine Le Pen: Getty Images

France’s National Rally, led by firebrand Marine Le Pen, is expected to win a sudden election called by President Emmanuel Macron.

Macron dissolved France’s national legislature following a crushing defeat for his Renaissance party in Sunday’s European Parliament election. The first round of elections is slated for June 30, less than three weeks away, with a runoff on July 7.

Marine Le Pen‘s anti-immigrant, right-wing National Rally party, or RN, is expected to win 235 to 265 members in the National Assembly.

According to Toluna Harris Interactive’s study for Challenges, M6, and RTL, this is a significant increase from its present 88, but it falls short of the 289 required for an absolute majority.

According to the poll, Macron’s centrist alliance might see its number of lawmakers cut in half, from 250 to 125-155. Left-wing parties might control 115 to 145 seats combined, although each could run on its own.

There is no guarantee that the RN would lead the government, with or without a partnership with others. Other alternatives include a broad coalition of mainstream parties or a hung parliament.

Stocks drop in France

However, Macron’s unexpected move gives the increasingly popular extreme right a legitimate shot at power. This amounted to a gamble on his political destiny, and the euro instantly fell, as did French stocks and government bonds. RN got 31.4% of the European Parliament vote, while the Renaissance party coalition had 14.6%.

Even if the RN gains a majority in the French parliament, Macron will stay president for three more years and continue to be in charge of defense and foreign policy.

However, he would lose control of the domestic agenda, including economic policy, security, immigration, and finance, which would have an impact on other measures, such as aid to Ukraine, because he would need parliament’s approval to fund any assistance as part of France’s budget.

“We’re still in shock,” Emmanuel Pellerin, a Renaissance Party legislator, told Reuters. “Everything points to the RN achieving a relative or absolute majority. But this forces the French to consider what is at risk.

In that setting, political parties were rushing to field candidates and negotiate potential coalitions.

On Monday, RN leaders Jordan Bardella and Le Pen met with Marion Marechal of the minor far-right group Reconquete. Marechal is Le Pen’s niece and was a senior member of her party prior to their split.

Left-wing fractured

Following the meeting, Bardella stated that talks were underway to form an alliance. He also mentioned that he was speaking with several members of the conservative Les Republicains.

“I fervently wish that we can all find ways to come together,” Marechal told Reuters.

Leaders of France’s very split left, including the hard-left LFI (France Unbowed), Communists, Socialists, and Greens, were also in negotiations.

“We don’t have time to procrastinate,” LFI’s Manon Aubry told reporters. “The objective is to be able to meet again, to build the future and above all to go and win.”

According to a source close to Macron, the 46-year-old leader, whose power has dwindled since losing his absolute majority in parliament two years ago, reckoned that he might regain a majority by surprising everyone.

For Le Pen and Bardella, the goal is to turn popularity into victory. The vote is expected to center not only on dissatisfaction with Macron’s leadership style, cost of living, and immigration policies, but also on whether the RN can be trusted to manage a major European government.

Among the party’s policies, the RN has supported increased public spending, despite already high levels of French debt, threatening to increase bank funding costs.

The RN also wants to expel more migrants, end family reunification, limit childcare subsidies for French citizens, give French nationals priority in access to social housing and jobs, and revoke residency for migrants who have been out of work for more than one year.

The euro plunged by up to 0.6%, while Paris blue-chip stocks fell by 1.4%, led by heavy losses in banks BNP Paribas.

The early election will take place shortly before the July 26 start of the Paris Olympics, when all eyes will be on France.

Source: CTN News

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Election News

Britain’s Populist Right-Wing Reform UK Party Surges in Popularity



Reform UK party

The reemergence of staunch conservative Nigel Farage has given Britain’s populist right-wing Reform UK party a boost, with the latest poll showing it closing in on the ruling Conservatives ahead of the country’s impending general election.

According to the most recent YouGov survey of the election campaign for Sky News, Reform is now only two points behind the Conservatives.

According to online polling, Labour is likely to win 40% of the vote, followed by the Conservatives at 19% and the Reform Party at 17%.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Tory party was already largely projected to lose next month’s election to the opposition Labour Party, ending its long and turbulent 14-year reign.

Nigel Farage’s return

Nigel Farage’s sudden return as Reform leader on Monday dealt a fatal blow to the Tory party, threatening to grab a sizable share of right-wing votes.

The last-minute change would leave the Conservatives with even fewer seats than previously projected in the House of Commons, potentially sparking a reckoning within the weakened party. Some observers believe it would push the party even further to the right, maybe with Farage at the head.

Farage, for his part, has not ruled out ultimately joining a “reset and realign[ed]” Conservative Party, stating last year, “never say never.”

Euroskeptic Farage, who led the Leave campaign in the United Kingdom’s 2016 EU referendum, has announced his candidacy for a parliamentary seat in Clacton-on-Sea, a coastal town in eastern England with strong Brexit support. A previous YouGov poll showed the Conservatives winning that seat.

It is the politician-turned-media personality’s seventh attempt to be a member of Parliament, having never previously succeeded.

A separate Ipsos survey issued Thursday predicted that Reform would receive only 9% of the vote, compared to Labour’s 43% and the Conservatives’ 23%. The survey includes attitudes questioned as of Tuesday, one day after Farage’s return.

Voters rethinking Reform UK party

Just over half of participants (53%) in the poll claimed they had already chosen how they would vote on July 4, with others indicating they would change their minds.

Farage is bitterly opposed to the Conservatives. In the 2019 election, his then-Brexit Party promised not to run candidates in hundreds of seats to ensure a Conservative victory. He has since accused the party of abandoning the political right, declaring Monday that it was time for a “revolt.”

“What I’m really calling for—or intend to lead—is a political revolt,” he said at a so-called emergency news conference in London.

The announcement undermines Sunak’s previous efforts to capture right-wing support by strengthening the Conservatives’ stance on migration and the United Kingdom’s membership in the European Convention on Human Rights. Recent pronouncements regarding the resumption of obligatory national service, tax breaks for elderly, and new gender definitions were also interpreted as an attempt to win potential Reform supporters.

Reform The UK Party is a political group in the United Kingdom that seeks to improve the country’s governance. Their primary focus is on improving the political system to make it more open and accountable. They also want to lower taxes and minimize government waste.

One of their major concerns is Brexit, and they believe the UK should have complete sovereignty over its laws, borders, and trade without intervention from the European Union. They also push for improved public services, such as the NHS, but believe these services should be more efficient.

They say that too much money is squandered on bureaucracy while insufficient funds are allocated to frontline services. Reform UK believes that smaller government results in a better economy and greater freedom for individuals and businesses.

They commit to work for policies that they feel will result in a more equitable, affluent society for all.

Source: CNBC

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Election News

France’s Macron Calls Snap Election After Huge EU Election Losses



France Macron, EU Election

France’s President Emmanuel Macron dissolved the National Assembly and called for a snap general election on Sunday, following the release of polls projecting a terrible result by his Renaissance party in the EU parliament election.

Macron’s supporters are expected to be thoroughly defeated by the right-wing National Rally (RN) party, led by Marine Le Pen.

According to exit polls and early estimations, Jordan Bardella’s National Rally in France received almost one-third of the vote, while Macron’s alliance received approximately 15%.

Explaining his decision, the president stated that he could not operate as if “nothing happened,” conceding that the expected election outcome did not auger well for his administration. Macron also warned against the apparent rise of nationalist movements, seeing it as a threat to both France and the European Union as a whole.

“This is a serious, difficult decision, but above all it is an act of trust,” Macron said, adding that he believes in “the French people to make the best choice for themselves and for future generations.”

“By giving us more than 30% of their votes, the French have delivered their verdict and marked our country’s determination to change the course of the EU,” Bardella said in a victory speech from his campaign headquarters, describing the anticipated result as “only the beginning.”

France’s Le Pen Hails Decision

Marine Le Pen, the long-time leader of the National Rally party and the current head of its section in parliament, hailed Macron’s decision to hold a quick election. She also stated her willingness to become France’s Prime Minister if the party wins the upcoming national elections.

Raphael Glucksmann, the frontrunner for the France socialist alliance, which is expected to finish third in the EU polls, blasted Macron’s decision.

Meanwhile, Right-wing parties are resurging across Europe, shaking up political landscapes in Italy, France, and Germany. They ride waves of anger over topics like as immigration, economic injustice, and national identity.

In Italy, Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party has gained popularity, seizing on dissatisfaction with the current government. Marine Le Pen’s National Rally in France continues to gain support by emphasizing tight immigration policies and national sovereignty.

In Germany, the Alternative for Germany (AFD) party has gained popularity, particularly in districts where economic suffering is more severe.

These parties have successfully tapped into voters’ strong discontent with traditional political establishments. They employ direct, often confrontational rhetoric to engage with their supporters, promising to fix issues that mainstream parties have either ignored or mishandled.

While detractors warn of the dangers of radical right-wing ideas, supporters claim that these parties provide genuine solutions to long-standing issues. This shift echoes a broader trend in Europe, where many people are looking to the right for change.

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Election News

Right-Wing Nationalist Parties Dominate European Parliament Elections



Rise of Right-Wing Nationalists
2024 European Elections: File Image

Early exit polls from the European Parliament elections on Sunday show voters punishing ruling leftist parties and throwing unprecedented support behind right-wing nationalist parties, most notably in France, where disastrous results for French President Emmanuel Macron’s coalition forced him to dissolve the National Assembly and call snap elections.

Voting to elect the European Union’s regional lawmakers for the next five-year term ended with the last remaining polls in Italy, as surging far-right parties dealt a body blow to two of the bloc’s most important leaders: French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Official results were anticipated shortly after Italian polling booths closed at 11 p.m., marking the end of a four-day marathon election in 27 EU member countries. The European Union’s early estimate indicated that right-wing nationalist parties had achieved significant gains in the European Parliament.

Marine Le Pen victorious

In France, Marine Le Pen’s National Rally party dominated the polls to the point where Macron dissolved the national parliament and called for new elections, posing a significant political risk because his party could suffer further losses, jeopardizing the remainder of his presidential term, which expires in 2027.

Le Pen was delighted to accept the task. “We’re ready to turn the country around, ready to defend the interests of the French, ready to put an end to mass immigration,” she added, repeating the rallying cry of numerous far-right politicians in other countries celebrating significant victories.

Macron recognized the thud of loss. “I’ve heard your message, your concerns, and I won’t leave them unanswered,” he said, adding that calling a quick election only strengthened his democratic credentials.

In Germany, the most populous country in the 27-member bloc, forecasts showed that the AfD would overcome a string of controversies surrounding its top candidate to grow to 16.5%, up from 11% in 2019. In comparison, the combined result of the three parties in Germany’s ruling coalition barely exceeded 30%.

Rise of Right-Wing Nationalists

Scholz’s dismal fate meant that his long-standing Social Democratic party dropped behind the right-wing Alternative for Germany, which soared to second place. “After all the prophecies of doom, after the barrage of the last few weeks, we are the second strongest force,” a joyful AfD leader Alice Weidel exclaimed.

The four-day polls in the 27 EU countries were the world’s second-largest exercise in democracy, trailing only India’s recent election. Finally, the growth of the right-wing nationalists was even more surprising than many analysts projected.

The French National Rally crystallized it, with over 30%, or roughly twice as much as Macron’s pro-European centrist Renew party, which is expected to reach 15%.

Across the EU, two major and pro-European parties, the Christian Democrats and the Socialists, remained dominant. The extreme right’s gains came at the expense of the Greens, who were anticipated to lose approximately 20 seats and drop to sixth place in the legislature. Macron’s pro-business Renew faction also suffered significant losses.

For decades, the European Union, founded on the defeat of Nazi Germany and fascist Italy, relegated the hard right to the political outskirts. With its impressive performance in these elections, the far right might potentially play a significant role in issues ranging from migration to security and climate.

Leftist Parties Decimated

Former EU leader and current Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk defied the trend, defeating Law and Justice, the national conservative party that controlled Poland from 2015 to 2023, and driving it even more to the right. According to one poll, Tusk’s party received 38% of the vote, while his fiercest rival won 34%.

“Of these large, ambitious countries, of the EU leaders, Poland has shown that democracy, honesty and Europe triumph here,” Tusk stated to his backers. “I am so moved.” He said, “We showed that we are a light of hope for Europe.”

Germany, a traditional stronghold for environmentalists, exemplified the Greens’ defeat, with their vote share expected to decline from 20% to 12%. With further defeats predicted in France and elsewhere, the Greens’ defeat might have an impact on the EU’s overall climate change policies, which remain among the most progressive in the world.

The center-right Christian Democratic group of EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, which had already reduced its green credentials before the polls, prevailed in Germany with over 30%, handily defeating Scholz’s Social Democrats, who slumped to 14%, trailing just the AfD.

“What you have already set as a trend is all the better – strongest force, stable, in difficult times, and by a long distance,” von der Leyen told her German fans via video link from Brussels.

In addition to France, the far right, which concentrated its campaign on migration and crime, was predicted to make substantial gains in Italy, where Premier Giorgia Meloni was expected to consolidate her position.

Return to Nationalism

Voting in Italy proceeded late into the evening, and many of the 27 member states had yet to release forecasts. Nonetheless, previously available data reinforced earlier predictions: the elections will push the bloc to the right, reshaping its destiny. This might make it more difficult for the EU to adopt legislation, and decision-making in the world’s largest trading bloc could become paralyzed at times.

EU legislators, who serve five-year terms in the 720-seat Parliament, have a vote on matters ranging from financial regulations to climate and agriculture policy. They approve the EU budget, which funds objectives such as infrastructure projects, farm subsidies, and aid to Ukraine. They also have a veto over appointments to the powerful European Commission.

These elections come at a critical time for voter confidence in a group of around 450 million people. The coronavirus epidemic, an economic downturn, and an energy crisis fueled by Europe’s largest land dispute since World War II have all shook the EU during the last five years. However, political campaigns frequently focus on topics of significance in specific countries rather than broader European objectives.

Since the last EU election in 2019, populist or ight-wing parties have led governments in three countries: Hungary, Slovakia, and Italy, and they are part of ruling coalitions in Sweden, Finland, and, soon, the Netherlands. Polls show that populists have an advantage in France, Belgium, Austria, and Italy.

“Right is good,” Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who heads a staunchly nationalist and anti-migrant administration, told reporters after casting his vote. “To go right is always preferable. “Go right!”

Source: AP


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