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Don’t Count Your Right Chicken Wings…

Volume XXII, Issue 24

Screenshot from the Local on the European elections
Headline in The Local

Even my daughter has been texting me questions about the outcome of the recent European elections with concern over the win of the the far-right National Rally, so I must assume you readers are every bit as curious.

Graphic showing the European election results

Chef and author Susan Herrmann Loomis immediately issued a missive about it in her On Rue Tatin Substack. She is a French citizen and has the right and obligation to vote. I do not…yet. My application for citizenship is in, but the authorities haven’t yet called me in for the traditional and final interview. Therefore, I can’t voice my opinion in a vote; only here in our Nouvellettres®.

Screenshot of On Rue Tatin Substack

The 2024 European Parliament election took place from June 6 to 9. It was the tenth parliamentary election since the first direct elections in 1979, and the first European Parliament election after Brexit. This election also coincided with a number of other elections in some European Union member states. (Wikipedia.org)

Susan wrote about her personal experience voting: “We had 38 official parties to choose from, and we all know who won. Pretty much throughout Europe. The wind is blowing to the right.” According to Susan’s article, almost 52% of the French population voted, the highest number since 1994. (See the official Elections Results)

The bottom line isn’t a bottom line, however, as I understand it. The right-wing parties, and in particular, The National Rally in France, headed by Jordan Bardella (Marine Le Pen’s 28-year-old protege), achieved the highest-ever finish in a nationwide election—almost one-third—more than twice the share of Macron’s ruling Renaissance Party.

Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella

Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella

It can be awfully scary for all of us that the right should garner so much popularity, and that’s when French President Emmanuel Macron went into action. He has already dissolved the parliament and called for new legislative elections later this month.

Shortly after the initial results were announced, Macron appeared on national TV to declare snap legislative elections in France, three years ahead of schedule. The first round of voting is set for June 30th. For centrist Macron, this decision is a risky gamble that he might not win. If the National Rally performs well in this national poll, Jordan Bardella, could become France’s next prime minister. Ugh.

At no point in history has the National Rally appeared closer to power. With more MEPs and members of parliament than ever before, and opinion polls showing rising support for the French far right among new categories of voters, all eyes are on whether Marine Le Pen can finally move past her role as the perennial runner-up in French presidential elections and win in 2027. The prospect of Le Pen in the Élysée Palace is viewed with alarm in Brussels, where France’s shift to the far right is seen as an existential challenge to the EU.

Whew! NFJ! But, let’s not forget that overall, the center-right remained the main winner in these EU elections.

“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,” Macron said.

Cover of Politico article on French President Macron's call for elections in France

The French president’s decision mirrors former British Prime Minister David Cameron’s failed attempt to quell his Euroskeptic colleagues by calling a Brexit referendum to settle the U.K.’s EU membership. “I believe in confronting this issue—shaping it, leading the debate,” Cameron said when he announced his EU referendum plan in 2013. And look where that got him. The referendum result was influenced by various factors, including sovereignty, immigration, the economy, and anti-establishment politics. Ultimately, 51.8% of the votes were in favor of leaving the European Union. And according to the London.Gov.uk, a new report (January 2024) revealed that the UK economy is almost £140 billion ($178.6169 billion) smaller because of Brexit!

How stupid can the far right be? Pretty stupid, is the answer.

Macron’s unexpected move overshadowed Bardella’s spectacular victory on Sunday night. Members of parliament have just one week to announce their candidacy for the upcoming election, and the dissolution of the National Assembly has temporarily halted the functions of both the parliament and the senate. While Macron’s bold move shifts the narrative in the coming weeks, the outcome of a snap legislative election is uncertain. He’s taking a big risk, without a doubt, but what choice does he have?

My word to you is “not to count your [right] chicken [wings] before they hatch!” Let’s not let fear stand in the way of combating such closed-minded “tribal” thinking. We need to think and behave like the “global” citizens we are. Don’t you agree?

Here are some articles of note to read before you panic!:

The Local
Elections Europa

And let’s keep a close watch on our futures.

A bientôt,

Adrian Leeds along the river Seine in ParisAdrian Leeds
The Adrian Leeds Group®

P.S. We host or speak at a number of events each year. To see what we’re up to next, please see the Events page on our website.


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