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Macron Urges Moderates to Regroup      06/12 06:14


   PARIS (AP) -- French President Emmanuel Macron called Wednesday for moderate 
politicians from the left and the right to regroup to defeat the far right in 
general elections.

   Macron, a pro-business centrist, said he wants "men and women of goodwill 
who were able to say 'no' to extremes to join together to be able to build a 
joint project" for the country.

   A somber-looking Macron is addressing French voters for the first time since 
he called for a snap national election following a crushing defeat of his party 
by the far right in the European parliamentary vote.

   Unlike in his recent national addresses in which Macron focused on Russia's 
war in Ukraine and ways Europe should forge a common defense policy, 
independent of the United States and shore up trade protections against China, 
Macron stuck to France's internal issues favored by the surging right, 
including curbing immigration, fighting crime and Islamic separatism in France.

   He said he decided to dissolve the National Assembly, France's lower house 
of parliament, because he could not ignore the new political reality after his 
pro-European party was handed a chastening defeat and garnered less than half 
the support of the National Rally with its star leader, Jordan Bardella.

   His move Sunday triggered an early legislative election that will take place 
three weeks after the far-right National Rally party of Marine Le Pen triumphed 
at the election for the European Union Parliament.

   Macron, who has three years left of his second presidential term, hopes 
voters will band together to contain the far right in national elections in a 
way they didn't in European ones.

   "Things are simple today: we have unnatural alliances at both extremes, who 
quite agree on nothing except the jobs to be shared, and who will not be able 
to implement any program," Macron said during an opening address at a press 
conference in Paris.

   As for his own centrist alliance, Macron said: "We're not perfect, we 
haven't done everything right, but we have results... and above all, we know 
how to act."

   Sunday's decision to dissolve parliament and send to the polls voters who 
just expressed their discontent with Macron's politics was a risky move that 
could result in the French far-right leading a government for the first time 
since World War II.

   Potential alliances and France's two-round voting system in national 
elections make the outcome of the vote highly uncertain.

   Macron on Wednesday rebuffed accusations that his move to call snap 
legislative elections would help the far-right take power in France.

   "It's about allowing political forces chosen by the French to be able to 
govern," he said during a press conference in Paris. He added that it's 
"awkward to think it has to be the extreme right or political extremes. Or 
maybe you've got the spirit of defeat spread everywhere."

   "If that's what people are afraid of, it's time now to take action," he said.

   Opposition parties on the left and right have been scrambling to form 
alliances and field candidates in the early legislative balloting that will 
take place on June 30 and July 7.

   While sharp differences between parties remain on either side of the 
political spectrum, prominent figures calling for a united front appear to have 
one thing in common: They don't want to cooperate with Macron.

   Despite their divisions, left-wing parties agreed late Monday to form an 
alliance that includes the Greens, the Socialists, the Communists and the 
far-left France Unbowed of Jean-Luc Mlenchon.

   National Rally leader Marine Le Pen is working to consolidate power on the 
right in efforts to translate the European triumph into a national win and come 
closer to claiming power. The far-right party, with a history of racism and 
xenophobia, is expected to win the most French seats in the European 
Parliament, potentially as many as 30 of France's 81.

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