Daily Review: France’s Macron Is Playing With Fire—Again

Daily Review: France’s Macron Is Playing With Fire—Again
French President Emmanuel Macron delivers his speech during a presidential campaign news conference in Aubervilliers, France, March 17, 2022 (AP photo by Thibault Camus).

French President Emmanuel Macron dissolved the lower house of parliament yesterday and called for snap legislative elections, with the first round taking place on June 30. The decision comes after the French far-right party National Rally, or RN, decimated Macron’s Renaissance party in European parliamentary elections. (New York Times)

Our Take

The EU election results in France were not particularly surprising. The RN has for more than a decade fared better in European parliamentary elections than in French national elections. In part, that’s because of the different electoral systems—the European Parliament uses direct proportional representation, while France’s parliament uses single-member constituencies and a two-round system. Turnout is also lower in EU elections, and voters are more often driven by anti-incumbent and anti-EU grievances, which helps the far right.

In fact, this is the third time in a row that the RN has finished in first place in EU elections in France. The prior two wins, though, were much narrower. In 2019, the RN finished with the same number of seats in the European Parliament as Macron’s party. This time, its victory was decisive, winning more than double the number of seats, largely at the French president’s expense.

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