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'No to the spirit of defeat' to far right as Macron calls on moderates to unite

French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech in Paris, 12 June 2024
French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech in Paris, 12 June 2024 Copyright AP Photo/Michel Euler
Copyright AP Photo/Michel Euler
By Aleksandar BrezarSophia Khatsenkova
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The French president, who has three years left of his second term, also dismissed what he said were "absurd" rumours about his possible resignation if the far-right National Rally of Marine Le Pen wins in the legislative election scheduled for 30 June and 7 July.

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In a bid to rally support of moderates before the snap election he called on Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron urged politicians and voters from the left and the right to regroup and defeat the far right.

Macron, the leader of the centrist Rennaisance party, said at a press conference in Paris he wants “men and women of goodwill who were able to say ‘no’ to extremes to join together to be able to build a joint project.” 

The French president, who has three years left of his second term, also dismissed what he said were "absurd" rumours about his possible resignation if the far-right National Rally of Marine Le Pen wins in the legislative election scheduled for 30 June and 7 July.

The National Rally delivered a crushing defeat to Macron's party in the European parliamentary vote on Sunday, triggering him to dissolve the parliament and call for an early election in a shock move.

"I don't want to give the key to power to the far right in 2027," Macron said at a press conference on Wednesday. However, he refused to comment on how he would govern in case of a cohabitation with an RN majority in parliament and the far-right party's rising star leader Jordan Bardella as prime minister.

Instead, the president launched into a tirade aimed at reminding people that this has not yet become a reality. 

"No to the spirit of defeat, yes to a wake-up call (...) I have the choice to trust our compatriots," Macron emphasised. "I am confident in France, in its future."

Macron said he decided to call an early vote because he could not ignore the new political reality in France and Europe.

"Look at the rise of the far right in other European countries. It's a European fact," Macron explained.

"If I thought I had done everything right, I wouldn't be here. Yes, I have a responsibility. I didn't respond quickly and radically enough to the difficulties faced by our compatriots."

Macron slams Ciotti's 'pact with the devil'

Concerning his omnipresence during the European election campaign, Macron said he was acting in the interest of the country as its president. In this election, however, he said he would not be as vocally present.

"The president must set a course, a vision, but I will not campaign in the legislative elections."

“But it is important to set the course and that is what I am doing today,” he explained.

Potential alliances and France's two-round voting system in national elections make the outcome of the vote highly uncertain.

Meanwhile, National Rally leader Le Pen has been attempting to consolidate the right to further strengthen her post-European elections position — as seen in the shocking announcement on Tuesday by the leader of the moderate conservative party Les Républicains Eric Ciotti that he will throw the hat in the ring with Le Pen in the upcoming vote.

Ciotti's words sparked an internal crisis in the Gaullist party, with a number of current and former members slamming the move.

Macron did not mince words on the issue, stating that Ciotti "will have to clarify" his decision after the "pact with the devil".

According to the domestic press, Les Républicains party's Paris headquarters were closed on Wednesday morning, while Ciotti is expected to be dismissed as party president later in the day following an emergency meeting of its leadership.

Additional sources • AP

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