Macron's protege Attal offers resignation as Le Pen claims President's position 'untenable'

Macron's protege Attal offers resignation as Le Pen claims President's position 'untenable'

Macron's protege Attal offers resignation as Le Pen claims President's position 'untenable'

Jack Walters

By Jack Walters

Published: 07/07/2024

- 20:48

Updated: 07/07/2024

- 22:22

National Rally performed well-below expectations after hoovering up between 115 and 150 seats

Emmanuel Macron's protege Gabriel Attal has plunged the French President into political turmoil by offering to resign as Prime Minister.

Marine Le Pen, whose populist party National Rally faced a disappointing night, also demanded Macron quit as President as she claimed the populist party will eventually reach its end goal.

Exit polls suggested the leftist New Popular Front will return the largest number of MPs, with Ensemble leapfrogging National Rally into second.

Confirming his intention to step down, Attal said: "Even though we had three times better results than it being envisaged, it doesn't mean that it's a majority.

Macron's protege Attal offers resignation as Le Pen claims President's position 'untenable'Macron's protege Attal offers resignation as Le Pen claims President's position 'untenable'REUTERS

"So, faithful to the Republican tradition, I will actually withdraw tomorrow morning."

He added: "I think about my duty to respect the sovereignty of the people. So that's the image that I have of my functions as a prime minister.

"Ladies and gentlemen, this evening there's a new era. There's a new era, as far as I'm concerned, from tomorrow."

Attal had also offered to resign immediately after National Rally topped last month's EU Parliamentary Election poll.

MacronMacron Reuters

However, Macron rejected his offer and instead held snap legislative elections.

Exit polls suggest left-wing New Popular Front is forecast to take between 172 and 205 seats as France's National Assembly braces for a hung parliament.

Macron's centrist coalition looks poised to receive around 150 to 175 seats, leaving National Rally languishing down in third between 115 and 150 MPs.

The French President is currently analysing the exit poll and will wait for the full picture to emerge before taking the necessary next decisions.

A statement said: "The President, as guarantor of our institutions, will respect the choice of the French people."

Macron will "wait" before making any decision about the new government.

Jordan Bardella (left) and Marine Le Pen (right)Jordan Bardella and Marine Le PenGETTY

Despite winning the first round and returning 37 MPs, Le Pen desribed Macron's position as "untenable".

Le Pen claimed National Rally's "victory has been merely delayed", adding: "The seeds of tomorrow's victory [are seen] in today's result."

National Rally's poor performance came after Macron entered a deal with anti-Le Pen candidates to stand down and minimise the number of populist right MPs elected.

Bardella later condemned the arrangement as the fruit of an “alliance of dishonour”.

Gabriel Attal (left) and Emmanuel Macron (right)French PM Gabriel Attal (left) announced an increase of his country's terror threat level to "attack emergency" in MarchGetty

Responding to the exit polls, Bardella said: "We've been thrown into the arms of the extreme left and of Jean-Luc Melenchon."

He added: "We will not go into any political compromise we don't want to have power for the sake of having power.

"I will be with you until victory... this evening is just the beginning."

The exit polls left France Unbowed leader Jean-Luc Melenchon calling on Macron to ask the left to govern.

He claimed Macron must admit defeat and enable the New Popular Front to run the country with a minority administration.

Marine Le PenMarine Le PenREUTERS

Melenchon said: "The New Popular Front is ready to govern. And after all, it's the only alternative which has got a very organised program and a very detailed program.

"The elements on the left are united and have shown that they were able to deal with this extraordinary historical situation. Once again, it saved the Republic, we saved the Republic."

There was speculation Macron could quit if National Rally won a majority in the French Parliament.

However, given National Rally's disappointing performance, the threat seems to have been abated.

National Rally already elected 39 MPs in the first ballot, with an additional 32 winning from the leftist New Popular Front.

You may like