Macron warns far-right and left-wing politics could lead to 'civil war'

Macron warns that far-right and far-left policies could lead to civil war
Macron warns that far-right and far-left policies could lead to civil war

President Emmanuel Macron warned that the policies of his far-right and far-left opponents could lead to "civil war" as France prepared for its most divisive election in decades.

French politics were plunged into turmoil by Macron calling snap legislative elections after his centrist party was defeated by the far-right National Rally (RN) in a European vote earlier this month.

Weekend polls suggested the RN would win 35-36 percent in the first round on Sunday, ahead of a left-wing alliance with 27-29,5 percent and Macron's center in third place with 19,5-22 percent.

A second round of voting will follow on July 7 in areas where no candidate received more than 50 percent in the first round.

Speaking on the Generation Do It Yourself podcast, Macron, 46, denounced both the RN and the left-wing France Unbowed party.

He said that the extreme right "divides and pushes towards civil war", while the strong left party "Unyielding France", which is part of the New Popular Front alliance, proposes "a form of communitarianism", adding that civil war comes from it.”

Earlier on Monday, French far-right leader Jordan Bardella said his RN party was ready to govern, as he pledged to curb immigration and tackle cost-of-living issues.

"In three words: we are ready," Bardella, the 28-year-old RN president, told a news conference as he unveiled his party's program.

Bardella, known for helping the RN clean up its extremist image, has urged voters to give the eurosceptic party an outright majority to allow it to implement its anti-immigration, law and order programme.

"Seven long years of Macronism have weakened the country," he said, vowing to boost purchasing power, "restore order" and change the law to make it easier to deport foreigners convicted of crimes.

He reiterated plans to tighten borders and make it more difficult for children born in France to foreign parents to obtain citizenship.

Bardella added that the RN will focus on "realistic" measures to curb inflation, mainly by reducing energy taxes.

He also promised a disciplinary "big bang" in schools, including banning mobile phones and testing the fit of school uniforms, a proposal previously floated by Macron.

Prime Minister Gabriel Attal of Macron's Renaissance party slammed the RN's economic program, telling Europe 1 radio that the country was "heading for disaster" in the event of an RN victory.

Today, Attal will go head-to-head with Bardella in a televised debate.

On foreign policy, Bardella said the RN opposed sending French troops and long-range missiles to Ukraine - as discussed by Macron - but would continue to provide logistical and material support.

He added that his party, which had close ties to Russia before the invasion of Ukraine, would be "extremely vigilant" in the face of Moscow's attempts to interfere in French affairs.

Macron insisted France would continue to support Ukraine for the long term as he met NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg.

"We will continue to mobilize to respond to Ukraine's immediate needs," he said alongside Stoltenberg at the Elysee Palace.

The election is shaping up to be a showdown between the RN and the left-wing New Popular Front, which is dominated by hard-left France Unbowed.

Bardella claimed that the RN, which the main parties have in the past united to block, was now the "patriotic and republican" choice in the face of what he claimed was Melenchon's party's anti-Semitism.

France Unbowed, which opposes Israel's war in Gaza and refused to label the October 7 Hamas attacks as "terrorism", denies the allegations of anti-Semitism.

By calling the election in just three weeks, Macron hoped to trip up his opponents and catch them off guard.

But analysts have warned the move could backfire if the deeply unpopular president is forced to share power with a prime minister from an opposing party.

RN strongman Marine Le Pen, who is seeking to succeed Macron as president, has called on him to step down if he loses control of parliament.

Macron has insisted he will not resign before the end of his second term in 2027, but has vowed to pay attention to voters' concerns.

Speaking on Monday, Macron once again defended his choice to call early elections.

"It is too hard. I'm aware of that and a lot of people are angry with me," he said on the podcast.

"But I did it because there is nothing greater and more just in a democracy than trusting the people."


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