Macron attacks ‘extremes’ and conservatives as he enters campaign race


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“We now have unnatural alliances between two extremes [on the far-right and far-left], who agree on virtually nothing apart from top jobs, but who will not be able to implement any programme whatsoever,” Macron said. [TERESA SUAREZ/EPA-EFE]

French President Emmanuel Macron lashed out at the political ‘extremes’, and the conservative leadership’s decision to ally with the far right, dubbing them “anti-Republican,” in a two-hour press conference, Wednesday (12 June), informally launching his election campaign.

Macron spoke for the first time after announcing the dissolution of the National Assembly and called for snap legislative elections on Sunday night (9 June), following a crushing defeat by the far-right party, Rassemblement national (RN), who secured over a third of the votes nationally.

The President’s party’s list, Besoin d’Europe, came a distant second, securing only 14.6% of the vote share.

Such a devasting result could not be left unanswered, said the president. Especially since he was already facing legislative blocks ever since he was reelected for a second term in 2022.

Not only has he failed to reach an absolute majority in the National Assembly, falling short by 40 MPs – but threats also remained that opposition parties would trigger a joint vote of no-confidence in the autumn, with serious risks the government could fall.

Admitting to the precarious political situation, he said “I have to acknowledge what was inevitably preventing the government from acting, and that in turn was becoming a danger for France.”

He is now gambling that these elections would ensure the far-right never reaches higher office.

Navigating Through France’s Political Storm

On Sunday night, Emmanuel Macron called for snap elections. Can the president’s sudden move halt the far right’s rising success?

Taking aim at the “anti-Republicans”

Judging the country to be “at a crossroads”, with his snap elections being “a time of clarification,” he lashed out at political opponents for being “anti-Republican” and posing grave risk to the institutional stability of the country.

Macron dubbed the coalition deal  between conservatives Les Républicains (LR) President Eric Ciotti and the far-right “the devil’s pact” – and called on those against the deal to “clarify” their stance.

The leaders of the parties on the left, who approved an electoral ‘Front populaire’ coalition late on Monday 10 June, were also attacked by Macron for being, “antisemitic, [supporting] communitarianism and anti-parliamentary.”

“We now have unnatural alliances between two extremes [on the far-right and far-left], who agree on virtually nothing apart from top jobs, but who will not be able to implement any programme whatsoever,” said Macron.

LR’s German counterparts, the CDU, told Euractiv on Tuesday that an alliance with the far-right would automatically see their membership in the European conservatives EPP family revoked.

These left- and right-wing coalitions, Macron say, could not be more distant ideologically on some of today’s fundamental issues.

On the left, “there are those who want to support Ukraine, and those who want to support Russia,” in reference to far-left La France insoumise (LFI) call for an immediate peace plan and international negotiations between Russia and Ukraine – though they clearly condemned Russia’s invasion throughout the EU elections campaign.

On the right, he insisted significant differences exists between the conservatives and the far-right on the economy – one is deemed liberal, the other interventionist.

To counter these “extremes,” Macron called for a “central bloc” that would extend from social-democrats and the greens all the way to anti-RN conservatives.

“The responsibility of this government’s leaders, and those of the democratic and green left, is to make clear they refuse to take part in this impossible [Front populaire] alliance, after which we can build something with them,” he said.

He even implicitly called on EU elections’ socialist lead candidate Raphaël Glucksmann, to join his ranks, saying he ran “a very respectable and dignified campaign, with powerful ideas.”

He dismissed the claim outright that the snap elections threatened France’s influence in the EU, saying “[we] cannot, for the sake of stability, ignore the will of the people.”

[Edited by Rajnish Singh]

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