France weighs up far-right power prospect as countdown to snap election starts

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PARIS: Political parties and business leaders alike tried to figure out what a possible far-right win could mean for France following President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to call a snap election after a bruising loss in a European Parliament ballot.

Macron’s shock decision offers the far right a shot at real political power. Amounting to a roll of the dice on his political future, it immediately sent the euro down and hit French stocks and government bonds.

A source close to Macron said the 46-year-old leader, whose power has been diminished since he lost his absolute majority in parliament two years ago, calculated that there was a chance he could win back a majority by taking everyone by surprise.

But if Marine Le Pen’s National Rally (RN) does take over, the source said, the gamble is that the next three years would demonstrate their incompetence to voters and undermine their bid for the presidency in 2027.

Voting will take place in two rounds on June 30 and July 7 for 577 lawmakers.

The vote is likely to revolve around discontent with Macron’s style of power, cost of living and immigration policies, but also about whether the RN can be trusted to run a major European government. Even if the RN did score a majority, Macron would remain president for three more years.