What's happening: French snap elections


Following the European elections’ results on 9 June, President Emmanuel Macron dissolved the French National Assembly, calling for snap legislative elections.

With the historical win of the far-right Rassemblement National (RN) party with 31.4% of the vote, the EU election results came as a hard blow to Macron’s ruling centrist alliance Renaissance. Macron called for the legislative elections using Article 12 of the Constitution and stated that his decision was to ‘regain confidence’. The two-round elections will take place on 30 June and 7 July in the context of increased public agitation and deteriorating political cohesion.

Ahead of the elections, parties have sought new political alliances in order to stand a chance to defeat the increasingly popular RN. The left-wing parties rallied to form the Front Populaire coalition, while the right-wing Les Républicains (LR) party is contemplating an alliance with the RN. While the dissolution announcement came as a surprise, the government was set to face a political crisis. Macron is likely to have called for the snap elections in an effort to reaffirm confidence in the ruling party amid recent parliamentary instability. The quick turnaround was likely chosen by Macron to hinder the RN and other far-right parties’ mobilisation efforts.

A ‘risky gamble’

Macron’s decision to dissolve the Assembly is a ‘risky gamble’ in which the President is likely to lose significant ruling powers. If Macron’s alliance is unable to secure a majority, the President will be forced into a cohabitation, whereby the president is from a different political party than the majority of the members of parliament. In practice, the prime minister chosen from the majority party in the Assembly controls the legislative agenda and the president's powers are limited to foreign policy and defence. However, while the RN was highly successful during the EU elections, a landslide far-right victory remains unlikely as the electoral system will make it harder for far-right to be chosen in the second-round vote.

Political risks are heightened in the medium term

Public agitation risks in France are moderate and will be heightened during the election cycle. Since the EU elections, large-scale protests have been reported across France’s urban centres. The rallies against the rise of the RN and calling for a united left demonstrate the increased political tensions since Macron’s announcement. Additional protests are almost certain in the coming weeks and isolated clashes with the police are likely.

Healix can provide GSOC clients with real-time alerts, event monitoring and security assistance in the event of clashes. Contact enquiries@healix.com for more information.

Tess Daniel
Global Threat Analyst
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