Final week of campaign before first round of French snap legislative elections

Europe © Dylan Martinez/Reuters
© Dylan Martinez/Reuters

A week before the first round of voting in legislative elections, President Emmanuel Macron has promised “change”, as the far-right National Rally (RN) is expected to present details of its political programme, and the leftist New Popular Front alliance bickers over hard left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon's bid to become Prime Minister.

Polls suggest the far-right, anti-immigration RN will come out ahead in the election, whose first round is in a week, on 30 June.

Jordan Bardella is to present details of his party's platform later Monday, as both the RN and Macron's government prepare for a possible 'cohabitation' – a government in which the President and Prime Minister come from rival factions.

Macron recognizes 'anger'

Acknowledging the anger against him expressed by the record number of votes for the far right in the European elections earlier this month that prompted him to dissolve parliament and call the snap polls, Macron promised change if his government is re-elected.

"The goal cannot be to just continue as things were. I have heard that you want change," he wrote in an open letter published in regional newspapers Sunday.

“The way we govern must change profoundly," he said, noting in particular his administration's "much stronger and firmer responses" on "insecurity and impunity", a reference to the RN's focus on security issues.

He said he would finish his term, until 2027, regardless of who wins the parliamentary elections, countering calls for him to step down if the RN wins.

Marine Le Pen, the RN's figurehead, said Saturday that Macron's resignation could be the only solution to avoid a lame-duck presidency for the remaining three years of his term.

Hollande to Melenchon: 'keep quiet'

Meanwhile, former President Francois Hollande told hard-left France Unbowed (LFI) leader Jean-Luc Melenchon to “keep quiet” after Melenchon said he intended to be Prime Minister.

Both candidates standing under the New Popular Front, the two men reveal the fragility of the alliance of the four main leftwing parties – LFI, Socialists, Greens and Communists.

Melenchon told France 5 television Saturday that he would not take himself out of the running to become Prime Minister, something his coalition partners have shown no intention of accepting.

Hollande on Sunday said in response that Melenchon should "keep quiet" and avoid stirring up the "rejection" he generates among more moderate left-leaning voters.

(with AFP)

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Started: 02-07-2024 | Ends: 31-10-2024