Throwing the Dice

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Hundreds of thousands of people marched across France over the weekend to protest against the country’s far-right National Rally party as polls project it to secure more seats than ever before in parliamentary elections later this month, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Officials said more than 250,000 people demonstrated in various French cities, including Paris, Marseilles, Nice, and Toulouse.

In the capital, around 75,000 marched on Paris’ streets, displaying anti-racist slogans and pro-Palestinian messages, France24 reported. Anti-racism groups, unions, student groups and a new coalition of left-leaning parties also joined the rallies.

The mass demonstrations follow historic gains by the National Rally of Marine Le Pen and other far-right parties in the European Parliament elections earlier this month. The Renaissance party of President Emmanuel Macron won about 15 percent of the vote in those elections, while the far-right group won roughly 32 percent, NPR wrote.

After the results were final, Macron dissolved the National Assembly last week and called for an early vote that will take place in two rounds on June 30 and July 7. Analysts called the move a major gamble for the embattled leader, who is hoping to muster enough support in parliament for his remaining three years as president.

But the decision could be costly for Macron as polls show that Le Pen’s forces would qualify for the runoffs and gain up to 270 seats – just a little short of the majority needed in the 577-seat lower house.

If National Rally becomes the biggest party, it would have a stronger voice in picking the next prime minister and would be able to effectively block Macron’s policies, making him a lame duck, analysts added.

Macron said he will remain president until the end of his second term in 2027. Le Pen claimed that she will not seek his resignation if National Rally wins, Politico added.

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