Europe swings to the right — led by France

Europe swings to the right — led by France

Politico reports:

Europe’s center of political gravity is veering to the right.

Center-right and far-right parties are set to take the largest number of seats in Sunday’s European Union election in the most populous nations: Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Poland.

France led the rightward lurch with such a crushing victory for the far-right National Rally that liberal President Emmanuel Macron dissolved France’s parliament and called an early election. Early projections suggested the National Rally would win 32 percent or more of the vote, more than twice that of the president’s party.

“The president of the Republic cannot remain deaf to the message sent this evening by the people of France,” National Rally’s President Jordan Bardella told his supporters at the Parc Floral in Paris.

In Germany, the center-right is cruising to a comfortable victory, with the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) coming second and beating Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Socialists into third place.

Voters across 27 nations have voted over the past week to select 720 members of the European Parliament, who will serve over the next five years. Their first main role with be to approve or reject the main candidate for Europe’s top job: president of the European Commission.

In a Continent that has sought to exorcise the ghosts of fascism for eight decades, the scale of the presence of far-right will be one of the hottest topics of conversation.

Even though they are highly unlikely to be able to coordinate as a unified group inside the European Parliament — thanks to divisions on topics such as Russia — they will still be able to influence the overall direction of the EU, on everything from immigration to climate policies.

Collected together, the radical right parties would theoretically represent the second biggest bloc in the Parliament — being on track to come first in France and Italy, and second in Germany, the three biggest and most important countries in the 27-nation bloc.

The far-right is also expected to win in Hungary, and tie for first in terms of European Parliament seats in the Netherlands. The center-right was comfortably first in Greece and Bulgaria.

The single most ominous warning signal for the future of the EU is France, given the scale of the far right’s win over Macron. All eyes will now be on whether France’s populist wave can maintain its momentum through the impending parliamentary elections and on to presidential elections in 2027 — where a victory for far-right leader Marine Le Pen would threaten to throw the whole EU into turmoil. [Continue reading…]

Politico also reports:

French President Emmanuel Macron dissolved parliament and called a fresh election on Sunday, following his party’s crushing defeat at the hands of far-right candidates in the European Union election.

The first round of the French Parliamentary election will take place on June 30. The second will be on July 7.

“France needs a clear majority in serenity and harmony. To be French, at heart, is about choosing to write history, not being driven by it,” Macron said.

The far-right National Rally is projected to win the European election in France with 31.5 percent of the vote — more than twice the 15.2 percent Macron’s liberal Renaissance party is projected to win.

The National Rally’s share of the vote eclipsed the total for the second and third largest parties combined — with the center-left social democrats earning around 14 percent, according to early exit polls.

The decision to dissolve the National Assembly was met with disbelief by Macron’s supporters, with several people screaming “Oh no” as he spoke to a crowd in a televised address from his party headquarters in Paris. [Continue reading…]

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