Right leads in EU elections, Macron dissolves assembly

PARIS (AP) – French President Emmanuel Macron said Sunday he would dissolve the National Assembly and call early elections after his party suffered a heavy defeat in European Parliament elections.

In an address to the nation from the Elysée presidential palace, Macron said: “I have decided to give you back the decision on our parliamentary future through the vote. That is why I am dissolving the National Assembly.” The vote will happen in two rounds on June 30 and July 7, he said.

The move comes after the far-right Rassemblement National (Rassemblement National) is predicted to have a transparent lead over Macron's pro-European centrists in France's European Union parliamentary elections following initial forecast results on Sunday, French polling institutes show.

Marine Le Pen's anti-immigration, nationalist party is estimated to receive around 31 to 32 percent of the vote, greater than twice as much as Macron's Renaissance party.

The early signs are a significant blow to Macron, who wants to steer a Europe-wide effort to defend Ukraine and strengthen the EU's defense assets and industry.

The leading candidate of the Rassemblement National, Jordan Bardella, wants to limit the free movement of migrants through national border controls and roll back EU climate regulations. The party not wants to go away the EU and the euro, but slightly weaken them from inside.

“Tonight our compatriots expressed their desire for change,” said Bardella.

“Emmanuel Macron is a weakened president tonight,” he added, calling for the organization of latest national parliamentary elections.

Initial forecasts also show a resurgence of the Socialist Party with around 14 percent of the vote. During the election campaign, the party campaigned for a more ambitious climate policy and protective measures for European corporations and staff and received around 14 percent of the vote.

France elects 81 members of the European Parliament, which has a complete of 720 seats.

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