Explained: French President Calls Snap Elections

Calling for elections barely 2 months into his second term, and managing to secure a legislative victory will give Macron a chance to escape the present uncomfortable cohabitation where the president is from a party other than the parliamentary majority.
Emmanuel Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron (File image)

Photo : AP
Paris: The greatest election year is only halfway through, but it continues to spring surprises nearly every week.
French President Emmanuel Macron dissolved the parliament overnight, calling for snap elections on June 30th and a second round on July 7th.
The announcement came close on the heels of exit polls predicting a large victory for right-wing parties in the four-day European Union Parliamentary elections which concluded on June 9th.
According to pollsters, France’s far-right National Rally (RN) is on course to secure 32% of the vote in the EU elections, which is more than double the share expected for Macron’s centrist Renaissance party (15%.).
Then why did Macron go for broke, also especially at a time when he doesn’t enjoy a majority in France and is ‘cohabiting’ in the 577-member lower house of parliament?
Representation of Macron’s party currently is 169 while that of his rival Marine Le Pen's is 88.
LEFT APPEASEMENT & OUTREACH
Macron is trying to please the citizens while attempting to put up a daring face. If the snap election gamble turns in his favor and his party secures enough votes, he will be hailed as a ‘spunky president.’
During his address yesterday, the French President said that “people’s messages and concerns will not go unanswered.”
He struck an affirmative tone, assuring left voters that he has “heard their message”, and “could not resign himself to the far-right's progress.”
ESCAPE COHABITATION & BREAK FAR-RIGHT RALLY
Macron will be out of office in 2027, as the French constitution limits presidents to a maximum of two consecutive terms.
Hence, calling for elections barely 2 years into his second term, and managing to secure a legislative victory will give him a chance to escape the present uncomfortable cohabitation where the president is from a party other than the parliamentary majority. This will grant him the required boost as he continues with the remaining 3 years of his presidency.
On the contrary, if he loses, it will still give him a chance to expose the inexperienced Le Pen’s RN party ahead of the 2027 presidential elections.
Earlier last year in Spain, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez played a similar gambit by calling snap elections. The move came after his party suffered a blow in local ballots. However, despite being thrashed, the Spanish PM retained power following a coalition with smaller parties.
Drawing a parallel, the French President and his party may also have nothing to lose in such a situation.
CAPITULATION OR OVER-CONFIDENCE?
EU elections are not directly related to national politics, but they have a cascading impact. It shows what the voters have a penchant for, which in turn translates into national election results paving the way for incumbent domestic governments.
It is still too soon to say what’s going on in the Puppeteer’s mind as it comes just ahead of the Paris Olympics – the biggest sporting congregation – where millions will convene in the French capital.
It sure looked like a pre-planned move, but whether it will turn out to be a masterstroke or a failed gamble remains to be seen.
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