PARIS — Emmanuel Macron called on French citizens to give him a clear majority in the parliamentary election’s final round on Sunday or risk chaos, in a thinly veiled allusion to his far-left rival Jean-Luc Mélenchon.
“We need a solid majority to ensure order outside and inside our borders. Nothing would be worse than adding a French disorder to the world disorder,” Macron said in Paris just before boarding a plane to Romania to visit French NATO troops stationed there. “We must defend our institutions against all those who challenge and weaken them,” he added.
It was the first time Macron has spoken publicly since a new left-wing alliance led by Mélenchon made big gains in the parliamentary election’s first round last Sunday, threatening the ruling coalition’s majority in the National Assembly, the parliament’s lower chamber. Failing to secure an absolute majority would force Macron to secure ad hoc alliances with like-minded parties while fighting off a stronger-than-ever leftwing group that is likely to more than double its current size.
Top Macron ministers have been at pains to highlight Mélenchon’s radical agenda in recent days, as well as his vow to “disobey EU rules” and his past ambiguities towards Russia.
“We must carry on with the historic choices that France has made in terms of defense and Europe,” Macron said Tuesday. “We need a solid majority to continue to carry the great ambitions of the country, in the face of the emergencies of the century: climatic, economic and social … We need a solid majority to guarantee our independence.”
Macron also addressed those who didn’t vote — more than 52 percent of the voting population last Sunday, an all-time high. “We are at a time of great choices, and great choices are never made by abstaining. I therefore appeal to your common sense and to a surge of republican spirit,” he pleaded.
Speaking at Paris’ Orly Airport with the presidential plane in the background, Macron was seemingly keen on posing as a war leader focused on the country’s best interests.
Mélenchon has vowed to turn the parliamentary election into the “third round of the presidential election,” pitching himself as the next potential prime minister of France if he gains enough seats to secure a majority and force Macron into a so-called cohabitation government, where the president and prime minister are from different parties. While this has always been a highly unlikely scenario, it’s one that nevertheless seems to have galvanized Mélenchon’s supporters — and plays into Macron’s hands when it comes to scaring off moderate voters.