July 23. 2024. 1:18

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France’s far-right leader Bardella wants to become PM – but with conditions

Jordan Bardella, the up-and-coming young leader of France’s far-right Rassemblement national (RN), said he would only become prime minister if his party secures an absolute majority in the National Assembly, as a coalition with other political forces would be close to impossible.

Ever since Emmanuel Macron dissolved the National Assembly last Sunday (9 June) and called snap parliamentary elections, following his party’s abysmal defeat against the RN in the European elections, Bardella and the party’s historic figurehead Marine Le Pen have repeatedly said they were ready to take on government responsibilities.

A week later, however, party leaders have tempered such claims.

He said an absolute majority in parliament – 289 seats out of 577 – is the only way he can “pass through his emergency [policies] and his reforms,” with curbing migration flows and lowering VAT on electricity, gas, and fuel topping the priority list.

Failing that, there would need to be a coalition of more than one party in parliament, which may be a tall order as the political spectrum seems sharply delineated between the far-right, in alliance with radical right conservatives; the centre led by Macron; and an ad-hoc left-wing ‘Front populaire’ coalition.

The elections will be held in two rounds, on 30 June and 7 July, and if there is no absolute winner, “I will not be able to change things,” Bardella said.

Polls so far show the RN could almost triple their number of MPs but are unlikely to land the hoped-for 289-seat majority. A Cluster17 poll, out on Friday (14 June), estimates the RN could secure anywhere between 195 and 245 seats.

Other, more in-depth studies suggest voter turnout may be higher and favour the left-wing coalition and Macron’s party more than in the recent European vote, which seems to have won a near-maximum of votes from the far-right’s pool of potential voters.

Read more with Euractiv

EU’s centre-wing welcomes new members, eyes Belgium’s conservative N-VA

EU’s centre-wing welcomes new members, eyes Belgium’s conservative N-VA

The centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) group is set to officially welcome 11 new members at a meeting on Tuesday (18 June), but the party leadership is also eyeing a closer alliance with Belgium’s N-VA, currently sitting with the hard right.

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