France: What were the reasons that forced Emmanuel Macron to call for early elections?

French President Macron’s decision to call early elections has sparked intense debate and speculation among political analysts around the world. Macron’s move, seen as risky by many, comes at a time when his party, La République En Marche (LREM), or Renaissance, is losing ground to right-wing parties.

This strategic maneuver appears to be influenced by a complex mix of domestic politics, international pressures and Macron and his environment’s plan for France’s role on the global geopolitical stage, particularly in Africa and Ukraine.

1. Declining popularity and electoral pressure

Macron’s Renaissance has seen support decline in recent polls, with right-wing parties, particularly Marine Le Pen’s National Rally, gaining ground. The political landscape in France has become increasingly polarized, with voters shifting towards more extreme positions on both the right and the left. By calling for an early election, Macron may be trying to consolidate his base of support by giving the electorate some time to decide their vote and reassert his political mandate before the situation worsens for his party.

This move could also be an attempt to avoid a much more serious defeat, due to the growing discontent of the electorate, in the regular elections (on the date set) which could potentially lead to a right-wing majority government (without having to collaborations of other parties).

2. Distribution of the burden of decision-making

Another critical factor in Macron’s decision was the significant weight of decision-making on sensitive issues such as NATO’s stance and France’s position in the Russia-Ukraine conflict. If LREM/Renaissance retained control for the remaining three years of Macron’s term, responsibility for critical decisions regarding NATO and the response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine would rest solely with his administration. Given the seriousness of these issues, including the threat posed by Russia’s formidable military and nuclear capabilities, Macron may have preferred to involve a wider range of political voices in these decisions.

By integrating other parties into the decision-making process, Macron could spread responsibility and mitigate the political fallout from any controversial decisions. This approach could also promote a more unified national stance on international issues, potentially fostering a more moderate French position within NATO, which would de-escalate or even halt NATO’s current involvement in Ukraine.

3. Domestic and international implications

On the domestic front, Macron’s call for early elections can be seen as a strategic gamble to reshape the political landscape in his favor. By forcing an early election showdown, he may have hoped to capitalize on any weaknesses or lack of preparedness among his opponents. This move could also have been a calculated attempt to revive his party’s image and political agenda.

However, this bet was rather a gambit exploited by rival right-wing political forces, as the first round of elections favored Marine Le Pen’s National Alert. Le Pen’s success underscores the growing dissatisfaction among voters with Macron’s policies on domestic and international issues and certainly underscores the challenges Macron faces in maintaining the political influence of his agenda.

In detail, as predicted by opinion polls, Marine Le Pen’s National Alarm (RN) party took the lead in the first round of France’s parliamentary elections on Sunday, June 30, 2024, bringing it closer than ever to the gates of power.

After an unusually high turnout, the RN (National Rally) bloc leads with 34% of the vote, while the leftist New Popular Front (NFP) comes second with 28.1% and President Macron’s Ensemble alliance slipped to a dismal third with 20.3%, according to initial Ipsos estimates.

According to CNN, further projections show that, after the second round of voting next Sunday, the RN will win between 230 and 280 seats in the 577-seat lower house – a stunning increase from the 88 count in the outgoing parliament. The NFP was projected to secure between 125 and 165 seats, with Ensemble trailing with 70 to 100 seats.

Internationally, the early election move reflects the delicate balancing act that Macron probably wanted to perform. France’s role in NATO and its response to the Russia-NATO conflict in Ukraine are key issues that require careful handling.

Macron’s decision to call early elections was a multifaceted strategy driven by both domestic and international considerations. Faced with declining support and the rise of right-wing parties, Macron aimed to weaken his absolute political mandate as president and ruling party in power, and more importantly to share the burden of critical national security decision-making with other political forces. . Simply put, with this move Macron aimed to reduce the destructive influence of NATO at the military level on French foreign policy and the US on the French political scene, and it looks like he will probably succeed next week.

About the author

The Liberal Globe is an independent online magazine that provides carefully selected varieties of stories. Our authoritative insight opinions, analyses, researches are reflected in the sections which are both thematic and geographical. We do not attach ourselves to any political party. Our political agenda is liberal in the classical sense. We continue to advocate bold policies in favour of individual freedoms, even if that means we must oppose the will and the majority view, even if these positions that we express may be unpleasant and unbearable for the majority.

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