Why Macron's decision to dissolve the French parliament is a challenge for France and Ukraine

Tuesday, 11 June 2024 —

Following the European Parliament elections, French President Emmanuel Macron’s party was more than doubled in defeat by the far-right National Rally.

On the evening of 9 June, he dissolved parliament and called a snap election. The first round of voting for the National Assembly (the lower house of France’s parliament) is set to be held on 30 June, and the second round on 7 July.

Read more about why the French president has made such a decision and the potential reduction in French support for Ukraine after the snap parliamentary election in the article by Yurii Panchenko, a European Pravda editor – Macron goes all-in: Why he called a snap election and the risks it poses for Ukraine.

First and foremost, early elections are quite unusual for the French political system. Since the Fifth Republic in 1958, it has been only the sixth dissolution of parliament. The last time this happened in 1997.


In all these cases, snap elections benefited the incumbent president, who gained a loyal majority in parliament after the election.

The current situation is completely different. The chances of the president’s party maintaining any involvement in the next government seem slim.

Instead, it is most likely that a government will be formed of the far-right National Rally, returning France to a period of "political cohabitation," where the president and prime minister represent opposing political forces.

The decision to dissolve parliament came as a true sensation, as Macron had previously dismissed such a scenario.

It is highly likely that the French president was unprepared for the significant defeat that all of France witnessed after the 9 June elections.

The election results were a real blow to the president. His electoral coalition received only 14.6% of the votes, while the far-right received twice as much (31.36%).

The president simply could not ignore this.

The timing of announcing a snap election was perfect. Had the president done this even a few days later, it would have appeared as a sign of weakness and concession to opponents' pressure.

The question is, what will be the cost of this move for France and its allies, particularly Ukraine?

If in the new elections the pro-presidential party Renaissance loses first place and fails to attract allies among other centrist parties, the position of prime minister will have to be offered to the leader of the National Rally. Even if this results in a minority government, finding allies will be even harder for the radicals than for the current president's supporters.

In such a scenario, the government will be quite weak and unstable.

This weakness in French authority coincides with a very challenging period of conflict escalation in Europe.

If a government is formed by a party known for its cooperation with Putin, Paris’s course of supporting Ukraine's territorial integrity will likely remain.

However, the ambition of this support could significantly decrease.

This includes Macron’s plans to create a "coalition of the determined" to send military instructors to Ukraine, and even the promised transfer of Mirage 2000-5 fighter jets.

Should a government be formed by "friends of Putin," the realisation of these plans will undoubtedly be questioned.

At the same time, calls for negotiations with the aggressor and for "compromises from Kyiv" may intensify.

Thus, Macron's decision for the snap election is a "leap into the unknown" not only for France but also for Ukraine.

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