close
Sunday July 14, 2024

Right-wing alliance sparks outrage ahead of French polls

By AFP
June 12, 2024
Far-right figurehead Marine Le Pen (left) and Republicans leader Eric Ciotti (right) seen in this collage. — AFP/File
Far-right figurehead Marine Le Pen (left) and Republicans leader Eric Ciotti (right) seen in this collage. — AFP/File

PARIS: The leader of France´s main right-wing party on Tuesday backed an alliance with the far right of Marine Le Pen in snap legislative elections, triggering a crisis within his own party and fury from the government.

The stunning announcement by the Republicans (LR) leader Eric Ciotti in a TV interview is the first time in modern French political history that a leader of a traditional party has backed an alliance with the far-right National Rally (RN).

President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday called the elections on June 30, with a second round on July 7, a major gamble after the RN scored more than double the number of votes of his centrist alliance in the EU elections.

With less than three weeks to go before the first round, Macron faces opposition alliances crystallising on the left and right and warnings that his bet could backfire.

A Harris Interactive-Toluna poll published on Monday suggested just 19 percent of people would back him, compared to 34 percent for the far-right National Rally.

But in an interview, Macron ruled out resigning after the election.

The forthcoming ballot has set alarm bells ringing across Europe, as it risks hobbling France -- historically a key player in brokering compromise in Brussels and support for Ukraine against Russian invasion.

“We need to have an alliance while remaining ourselves... an alliance with the RN and its candidates,” Ciotti told TF1 television, adding that he had already held discussions with Le Pen, a three-time presidential candidate, and RN party leader Jordan Bardella.