PARIS — Emmanuel Macron has called on French citizens to give him a clear majority in Sunday’s final round of legislative elections 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 French disorder to global 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 had spoken publicly since a new leftist alliance led by Mélenchon made big gains in the first round of legislative elections last Sunday, threatening the majority of the ruling coalition in power. National Assembly, the lower house of parliament. Failure to secure an outright majority would force Macron to strike ad hoc alliances with like-minded parties while battling a stronger-than-ever left-wing group expected to more than double its current size.
Macron’s top ministers have been at pains to shine a light on Mélenchon’s radical agenda in recent days, as well as his vow to “disobey EU rules” and his past ambiguities with Russia.
“We must pursue the historic choices that France has made in terms of defense and Europe,” Macron said on 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 did not vote – more than 52% of voters last Sunday, an all-time high. “We are in 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 Orly airport in Paris with the presidential plane in the background, Macron was apparently keen to portray himself as a warlord focused on the best interests of the country.
Mélenchon has pledged to turn the legislative elections into a “third round of the presidential election”, presenting himself as France’s next potential prime minister if he wins enough seats to secure a majority and force Macron to form a self -so-called cohabitation government, where the president and the prime minister are from different parties. While this has always been a highly unlikely scenario, it nonetheless appears to have galvanized Mélenchon’s supporters – and played into Macron’s hands when it comes to scaring off moderate voters.