US Ally’s Conservative Leader Makes Historic Announcement That Could Sway Power Over Europe

The head of France’s conservative party announced on Tuesday that he would support an alliance with another prominent political organization on the right, a relationship that could threaten President Emanuel Macron’s hold on power.

Éric Ciotti, who is head of the Republican Party, called for an alliance with the National Rally Party, a party previously headed by Marine Le Pen, ahead of snap elections called for by Macron after he dissolved the lower house of the French Parliament. This is the first time a major French political party leader openly considered the prospect of forming an alliance with Le Pen’s National Rally, or its predecessor, the National Front, a move that could pose a threat to Macron’s party in the upcoming elections, according to The New York Times.

Ciotti argued that his party’s poor performance in Sunday’s European Parliament elections necessitated an alliance with Le Pen’s party, saying that his organization lacked the strength to take on Macron’s centrist party and leftist parties on its own.

“We need an alliance, while remaining ourselves,” Ciotti said, according to the NYT. The French don’t see the cordon sanitaire,” he said. “They see diminished purchasing power, they see insecurity, they see the flood of migrants, and they want answers.” “A right-wing bloc, a national bloc … is what the vast majority of our voters want,” Ciotti said.

The National Assembly elections are scheduled to being on June 30, an election that will decide the fate of France’s lower and more influential parliamentary chamber.

Macron announced the elections following his party’s significant setback in the European Parliament elections, securing 14.6% of the vote, contrasting with approximately 31.4% for the National Rally led by Le Pen’s protégé, Jordan Bardella. The Republicans performed even worse, obtaining only 7.25 % of the vote.

If a formal agreement is reached with the National Rally in which it is agreed that they won’t run candidates against Republicans in certain districts, it would mark a significant shift in French politics. This unprecedented collaboration could potentially complicate Macron’s post-election coalition-building efforts.

When reporters asked Ciotti at the party’s headquarters about what had happened to the traditional barrier typically upheld by mainstream parties in France against Le Pen’s party and similar parties, he declined to comment directly, deeming the term “no longer appropriate” and “totally out of step with the situation in France,” according to the NYT.

However, several prominent conservative politicians who had cautioned against collaborating with Le Pen, promptly deemed it unacceptable and demanded Ciotti’s resignation.

The interior minister, Gérald Darmanin, accused Ciotti of “signing the Munich agreement,” an appeasement deal reached in 1938 between Nazi Germany, the UK, France and Italy, according to The New York Times. Rachida Dati, the culture minister and, like Darmanin, a former member of the Republicans before entering Macron’s centrist government, said the decision was “a terrible blow to my political family, the republican right.”

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