In an extraordinary turn of events, French President Emmanuel Macron has dissolved parliament announcing a snap election after his centrist Renaissance party was trounced in the 2024 European Parliament elections. 

According to exit polls, Marine Le Pen’s right-wing National Rally (RN) is projected to win 31.5 percent of the vote — more than twice the 15.2 percent of Macron’s party. 

The first round of the election will be on 30 June, followed by the second round on 7 July, just three days after the UK general election. 

In a televised address in Paris, Macron told a shocked audience: “France needs a clear majority in serenity and harmony. To be French, at heart, is about choosing to write history, not being driven by it.”

Le Pen told National Rally supporters at a separate event that the EU results and the upcoming French election should “put an end to this painful epoch of globalism,” while the crowd chanted “Dissolution, dissolution!” over Macron’s speech. 

Far-right advances have not been limited to France. In Germany, the far-right AfD, which even Le Pen has tried to distance herself from, has gained 7 seats and is projected to finish as the second-biggest German party in the EU election. Austria’s far-right Freedom Party is thought to have come first with 27 per cent of the vote, ahead of the ruling conservative People’s Party on 23.5 per cent. In Belgium, there was also a shift to the right with the far-right Vlaams Belang party coming in second place.

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