Exclusive Macron’s snap election gamble was a ‘big mistake,’ French senator says

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President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to call for a snap election in France was a “big mistake,” French senator Nathalie Goulet said.

No single party won outright in Sunday’s second-round vote, though a broad alliance of Socialists, Communists, Greens, and the hard-left France Unbowed (LFI) won the most seats, with 193 in the 577-member National Assembly.

With no overall majority, the result left France rudderless at home, where it will host the Olympic Games in just over two weeks, and weakened abroad, where Macron was in Washington for a NATO summit focused on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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In an interview with Al Arabiya English’s Riz Khan, Goulet noted that Macron’s party “lost a lot of seats,” describing the president’s call for a snap election as “absolutely unexpected, unnecessary, and dangerous.”

It was a “big mistake,” she reiterated.

After winning the June 30 first round of the elections by a clear margin, Sunday’s results were a major disappointment for Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally (RN), despite boasting its biggest-ever contingent in parliament.

Goulet said that she was not surprised by the RN’s success in the first round of the elections.

“When you are in the countryside like myself, you meet the people every week, you know that they are very unhappy with politicians. They don’t trust them. And then we have a lot of trouble, which has not been resolved for the last several decades. Like immigration, like security,” Goulet said, adding that these are issues the far-right capitalizes on, so their success in the first round was not a shock to her.

Voters from different camps joined forces in the second-round run-off to shut the RN out of power in a “republican front,” allowing Macron’s followers to claim second place and leaving the far right in third.

In an open letter to voters, Macron said Wednesday that “nobody won” the ballot.

On foreign policy, Goulet noted that the French left is quite pro-Palestinian and even claimed they are “in favor of supporting” Hamas.

“Especially the extreme left is very much in favor of supporting Gaza and Hamas, which would create another commotion in the Jewish population here. People who explained that October 7th was a resistance (act) and not terrorism are now sitting in the National Assembly, we have to deal with that,” she told Al Arabiya English.

She said that she does not expect France’s relationship with the European Union to be impacted by the French elections.

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