(Paris) A blitzkrieg campaign began Monday in France after Emmanuel Macron’s shock decision to dissolve the Assembly and call legislative elections at the end of June, a presidential poker move that places the far right in a position of strength and plunges into uncertainty a pillar country of the European Union.

To everyone’s surprise, Mr. Macron drew this constitutional weapon, rarely used in France, on Sunday evening, after the triumph in the European elections of the National Rally (RN, far right), which garnered twice as many votes as the presidential Renaissance party ( 31.36% versus 14.60%).  

Elsewhere in the EU, the far right confirmed its dynamic on Sunday, notably in Germany where the AfD rose to second place ahead of Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s SPD, without presenting a common front or upsetting relations. by force. The grand European coalition of the center right and social democrats should thus retain the majority in Brussels.

Despite his heavy defeat, Chancellor Scholz ruled out early legislative elections in Germany, refusing to follow the path opened by Emmanuel Macron who attempted an “extreme” and “perilous” gamble, according to editorialists, by calling a new election.

“I have confidence in the people,” the French head of state insisted on Monday as three weeks of a tense campaign began.

The first round will be held on June 30, the second on July 7, and France could have a new government by the time it hosts the Paris Olympics (July 26-August 11).

These elections “will not disrupt the Olympics,” said the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, on Monday. The Kremlin said it was “following carefully” the political situation in Europe.

In France, where the far right obtained one of the highest scores in the EU on Sunday, the RN has never been so close to power and its young leader Jordan Bardella, 28, who led the party’s list in the European elections, is already applying for the post of prime minister in the event of victory.

The RN is “ready to exercise power,” Marine Le Pen, who lost in the second round of the last two presidential elections to Emmanuel Macron, said on Sunday. The victory of his party could lead to “cohabitation” between the two heads of the executive, an institutional situation tested three times under the Fifth Republic.

Surprised by the dissolution, the presidential camp is trying to put itself in battle order. “It’s a shock, very brutal for everyone, but we’re getting back to it,” said MP Éléonore Caroit, spokesperson for the Macronist group in the Assembly.

“There was another way,” lamented outgoing President of the National Assembly Yaël Braun-Pivet.    

According to his entourage, the president assumes “the risk” of a new “anti-Macron referendum”, but hopes that voters will not use the legislative elections as a “vent”.

The dissolution, “it’s something that Macron matured over the weekend to the point of saying that there was only that to do” in view of the results, slips a minister.

“We have no right not to […] have” courage, he told a resident during a trip Monday to the ruins of the martyr village of Oradour-sur-Glane, in the central France, scene of a massacre of civilians committed by the Nazis in 1944.

At his side, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier called for “never” to forget “the damage caused in Europe by nationalism and hatred! “.

“Europe such a singular, crazy, peace project. There is nothing obvious, spontaneous, natural in this project,” added Mr. Macron.

For the French left, negotiations are likely to be difficult between parties which formed a coalition for the 2022 legislative elections, but were divided during the European campaign, particularly around the war in Gaza.

Leaders of La France insoumise (radical left) sent a “meeting proposal” Monday afternoon to the Socialist, Communist and Green parties to “work towards unity”.

In the meantime, time is suspended in the National Assembly, where the examination of a bill on the end of life had to be suspended. “It’s a bit of a blow. Nobody saw the blow coming,” slips a parliamentary source.