Former French president Sarkozy flags chaos risk as election looms

By Reuters
June 17, 2024
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy attends a "national tribute" ceremony for late French politician and admiral, Philippe de Gaulle, son of Charles de Gaulle, at the Hotel des Invalides in Paris, France on March 20, 2024. — Reuters

PARIS: Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy warned on Sunday that President Emmanuel Macron’s unexpected decision to dissolve the National Assembly and call for snap legislative elections could backfire and plunge the country into chaos.

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Macron called the snap vote, to be held in two rounds on June 30 and July 7, after his centrist alliance was trounced by the far-right National Rally (RN) in last Sunday’s European Parliament ballot.

Sarkozy, the conservative former president who was in office from 2007 to 2012 and remains an important political figure, said possible chaos triggered by the dissolution of the assembly might be challenging to get out of, according to a report in the Journal du Dimanche.

“Giving the floor to the French people to justify the dissolution is a curious argument since this is precisely what more than 25 million French people have just done at the polls”, Sarkozy, who is on friendly terms with Macron, said in reference to the European elections on June 9. “The risk is great they confirm their anger rather than reverse it,” he said. A poll on Saturday appeared to support his concerns.

The OpinionWay-Vae Solis poll conducted for Les Echos and Radio Classique forecast RN would lead in the first round of the parliamentary election with 33 percent of the vote, ahead of the Popular Front, the alliance of left-wing parties, with 25 percent. Macron’s centrist camp had 20 percent.

Thousands marched in Paris and cities across France on Saturday to protest against the far-right National Rally (RN) ahead of the upcoming elections.

An opinion poll by Ifop showed National Rally way ahead with a 35 percent vote share, the New Popular Front alliance of leftwing parties on 26 percent, and Macron’s Renaissance on 19 percent. According to the paper, only 61 percent of people who voted for Macron in the first round of presidential elections in 2022 plan to back his party on 30 June.

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