Populist leader Marine Le Pen and her Rassemblement National (National Rally, or RN) have triumphed over sitting French president Emmanuel Macron in the European Parliament elections, according to exit polls.
Ms Le Pen declared victory following exit polls showing the RN winning around 24 per cent of the vote, compared to Macron’s La Republique En Marche! (LREM) who, according to projections, has come in second with 22.5 percent of the vote, French newspaper Le Figaro reports.
Declaring victory, the RN leader said, “The trust we have been given by the French in designating us as the first party in France but especially as that of the future alternation is an immense honour.”
She went on to call for Macron to dissolve the French parliament, saying “it is up to the President of the Republic to draw the consequences” and calling for fresh elections, stating that Macron put his own presidency on the line in the vote.
France, Elabe projection:
UPR-*: 1.1%#Européennes2019 #EP2019
— Europe Elects (@EuropeElects) May 26, 2019
Previously, Le Pen had called the European elections a referendum on the presidency of Macron and called on him to resign from office if his party were not able to win.
“So it becomes a referendum for or against Emmanuel Macron, this European election. I accept that, but in these conditions, he must do as General De Gaulle: if he loses this election, then he will have to leave,” she said earlier this month.
23-year-old Jordan Bardella, the leading European Parliament candidate for the RN, echoed Le Pen’s call for fresh parliamentary elections, declaring: “The president will not be able to govern against the interests of the French during the second half of his quinquennium, which is why we are asking him to dissolve the National Assembly.”
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe reacted to the exit poll predictions saying, “The far right is consolidating its positions, this message is strong and we have received it.”
“For my part, I welcome these results with humility. When we finish second, we can not say we won,” he added.