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France simmers a week before crucial elections, riots and violence could erupt on June 2, Macron is preparing for the worst, here is the "nightmare scenario" for the president

France simmers a week before crucial elections, riots and violence could erupt

He promises not to resign until the end of his term, in 2027. He defends his decision to dissolve the Assemblée Nationale and call the country for early elections. And he returns to invite the French to vote against extremism, right and left. A week before legislative elections in which France will renew its lower house of Parliament, following the decision to call the country to the polls following the far-right boom in the European elections, Emmanuel Macron enters the election campaign with a tense letter to the French in which he tries to explain his choice, disputed by many supporters and others, and tries to play his final cards in a move that seems desperate to many. Also for this reason, instead of a message from an impartial head of state, who should have stayed away from the political battle because he had promised this on June 12, the president's text is already at the center of a whirlwind of criticism for the content, conceived and written by a political leader much more than a tenant of the Elysee.

Macron's letter

The letter was published in regional newspapers, but predictably it was re-launched by all the national and then international media. A third of its content is devoted to justifying the reasons for his decision to dissolve Parliament early, a sign that Macron understood how his move had left many citizens stunned. The French head of state admits that the choice evoked "surprise, concern, rejection, sometimes even anger against me". But here's the reason: the dissolution of Parliament after the result of the European elections "is the only decision that can allow our country to move forward and reunify". Then the far-right Rassemblement National hit: "It claims to respond better to illegal immigration and insecurity without proposing anything concrete", "divides the nation" and "ignores climate change". And a low blow also to the alliance between the Socialists, Communists, Greens and Insoumis, that New Popular Front of the left that he calls "France Insoumise and its allies", to underline its more extremist spirit associated with Jean Luc Mélenchon, who "opposes clarity on secularism and anti-Semitism".

Difficult "coexistence".

If another party wins an absolute majority, either the far-right National Rally or the left-wing New People's Front coalition, then the president will have to choose a prime minister from the winning coalition. The Prime Minister will then choose his/her ministers. In French politics this is known as "coexistence". Throughout the Fifth Republic, France has experienced three cohabitations after parliamentary elections were won by the opposition party. "Not to say that it was the easiest position of the presidents of the Fifth Republic who have lived in a cohabitation, but the government was not in a deadlock either," explained Alexandre Frambéry-Iacobone. The last time a coexistence took place was in 1997, when centre-right President Jacques Chirac dissolved parliament, thinking he would win a stronger majority, but unexpectedly lost to a left-wing coalition led by the Party Socialist.

Risk of riots

The fear of the elections does not belong only to Macron. France could face civil unrest and election-related violence, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said yesterday, as the campaign enters its final week before the first round of voting. "It is possible that there will be extremely strong tensions," Darmanin told RTL radio, adding that authorities were preparing for a "very inflammatory" situation. The election comes less than a month before the 2024 Paris Olympics. Many voters see the election as a referendum on the fate of a president who was once thought to be able to bridge political divides but whose approval ratings have fallen after several political crises.

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