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Battered by Far Right in European Vote, Macron Calls New Legislative Elections in France

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President Emmanuel Macron of France, battered by a crushing defeat to the extreme right in European elections, dissolved the lower house of Parliament on Sunday and called for legislative elections beginning on June 30.

His decision, announced in a television broadcast to the nation, was a measure of the devastating nature of the European Parliament election result, which gave the National Rally, led by Marine Le Pen and her wildly popular protégé, Jordan Bardella, about 31.5 percent of the vote, to about 15.2 percent for Mr. Macron’s Renaissance party. It became the leading party in France by some distance.

“The rise of nationalists and demagogues is a danger for our nation and for Europe,” Mr. Macron said. “After this day I cannot go on as though nothing has happened.”

The French leader has always been a passionate supporter of the 27-nation European Union, seeing in it the sole means for Europe to count in the world and calling on it to achieve “strategic autonomy” through ever greater integration. But the political winds have turned in favor of less Europe, not more.

Mr. Macron’s decision, on the eve of the summer Olympic Games that begin in Paris in July, ushered in a period of deep political uncertainty in France. If the National Rally repeats its performance in national elections, the country could become nearly ungovernable, with Mr. Macron confronting a Parliament hostile to everything he believes in.

“It’s a serious, weighty decision,” he acknowledged. “But above all, it’s an act of trust” in French voters, he said.

French parliamentary elections take place in two rounds. The second round will be held on July 7, less than a month from now.

Ségolène Le Stradic contributed reporting.

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