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26 June, 2024
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Far-right surges in European elections

Macron calls snap election amidst political upheaval


In a dramatic turn of events, far-right parties across Europe have secured significant gains in the recent EU elections, particularly in Germany and France. According to a Financial Times report today, the outcomes have sent shockwaves through the political landscape, with French President Emmanuel Macron responding by calling for a snap parliamentary election.

Early results indicate that far-right and hard-right factions are poised to claim nearly a quarter of the seats in the upcoming European Parliament, marking a notable increase from their presence in 2019.

Macron's decision to swiftly call for a new election for the National Assembly comes in the wake of France's Rassemblement National securing a commanding lead in the polls, more than doubling the vote share of Macron's centrist alliance.

"I've decided to give you back the choice," Macron declared in an address to the electorate from the Élysée Palace, acknowledging the seismic shift in French politics.

The surge of far-right parties not only dealt a blow to the domestic standing of Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz but is also expected to influence the European Parliament towards a more anti-immigration and anti-green stance.

Despite the gains made by the far-right, parties of the center retained a majority in the new parliament, with the center-right European People’s Party projected to secure the most seats, followed by the Socialists and Democrats, and the liberal Renew group.

In France, the Rassemblement National, led by Marine Le Pen, secured a significant victory, winning 31.5% of the vote, according to early results. The party's campaign leader, Jordan Bardella, hailed the result as an emphatic expression of the French people's desire for change.

In Germany, the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) surpassed the parties in Chancellor Scholz's coalition, securing second place behind the conservative CDU-CSU opposition. The AfD's success, despite recent controversies and scandals, underscores a growing shift in German politics.

The European elections also witnessed significant gains for ultraconservative and nationalist parties in Austria, Cyprus, Greece, and the Netherlands, as indicated by exit polls.

While the center remains a dominant force in European politics, the rise of far-right factions poses challenges to the unity and stability of the European Union. The results could complicate European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen's bid for a second term, as she seeks support from a fractured political landscape.

As final results are awaited, the surge of far-right parties in the European elections underscores a shifting political landscape, with implications for the future direction of Europe.

[Source: Financial Times]

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