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France: Macron calls on voters to reject 'extremism'

June 12, 2024

President Emmanuel Macron has urged voters to reject extremism in upcoming snap elections in France. He calls for unity against the far-right and far-left, stressing the need for national stability.

President Emmanuel Macron addressed French voters on Wednesday for the first time since he calling a snap national election
France's President Emmanuel Macron has called on voters to reject extremismImage: Michel Euler/AP Photo/picture alliance

French President Emmanuel Macron urged "all those who say no to extremism" to support him in the snap legislative elections he called in the wake of the European elections, which saw the far-right make major gains across France.

"I have the wish that, come the moment, those men and women of sound mind who are able to say no to extremism, come together," he told a press conference in Paris on Wednesday.

He called on centrist movements to unite to combat an extreme-right which he said preaches "exclusion" and an extreme-left which he accused of "antisemitism" and "anti-parliamentarianism."

Macron: 'I don't want to hand the keys of power to the far right'

After a crushing defeat in the European elections further damaged his domestic authority having already lost his parliamentary majority, Macron surprised supporters and opponents alike by calling new elections for the end of June and start of July.

"I don't want to hand the keys of power to the far right in 2027," he said, referring to France's next presidential elections. "That's why I triggered early [legislative] elections."

"Things are simple today: we have unnatural alliances at both extremes, who agree on nothing except the jobs to be shared, and who will not be able to implement any program," Macron said.

"Returning to the sovereign people is, in my opinion, the only republican decision in this context."

Macron: 'Not perfect but we've achieved results'

Domestically, Macron confirmed a new project for the building of eight new nuclear reactors which he said were "essential" to the country's energy transition. and claimed other parties' pension proposals would "bankrupt" the pension system.

"The dissolution of the National Assembly is a test of truth between those who choose to strengthen their own hand and those who chose to strengthen the hand of France," he said.

Defending his government's performance, he said: "We're not perfect, we haven't got everything right, but we have achieved results."

Addressing some of the far-right's main topics, he said "we need greater security, we need to reduce illegal immigration, we need to have a stronger response to youth violence and the authority of the Republic must be visible at all levels."

He acknowledged voters' "difficulty getting by even when they're working" and the "everyday difficulties" that had created "anger, sometimes resentment."

People "feel that they aren't listened to or respected," he said. "We can't remain indifferent to all these messages."

He called on all those "who reject the extremist fever" to come together.

Macron attacks far right and far left on foreign affairs

Internationally, he warned that the far right under Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella could take France out of NATO and usher in a new "ambiguity" towards Russian aggression in eastern Europe.

He also attacked what he called the "far-left" France Unbowed (LFI) party, accusing it of having "impossible views both towards Ukraine and towards the Middle East."

mf/kb (AFP, Reuters)