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French President Macron calls for snap election after heavy defeat in EU vote

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a meeting with members of the AI sector at the Elysee Presidential Palace in Paris, France, on May 21, 2024.

Yoan Valat | Afp | Getty Images

French President Emmanuel Macron said he would dissolve the country’s parliament and call for a new legislative election after suffering a heavy defeat in EU elections on Sunday.

Exit polls published by public broadcaster France TV indicated that Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally (RN) is set to win around 31.5% of the vote, compared to 15.2% for Macron’s Renaissance party.

The blow led the French leader to call for a surprise parliamentary election, with the first round on June 30 and the second round on July 7.

“I will … not be able, at the end of this day, to act as if nothing had happened,” Macron said in a TV address, according to a translation by CNBC.

It comes after polls closed on the final, and biggest, day of voting in elections for members of European Parliament, with populist, far-right parties winning record support, according to early data.

The center-right European People’s Party (EPP) is once again projected to win the most parliamentary seats, however, with slightly more seats than before.

This is a developing story and will be updated shortly.

— CNBC’s Charlotte Reed contributed to this report.

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