Macron announces early elections

French President Emmanuel Macron announced early elections after a crushing defeat in the European elections.

The first round of elections for the lower house of the National Assembly will be held on June 30 and the second round on July 7, Macron said in an address to the nation.

"The result of the European elections is not a good result for the parties that defend Europe," the head of state was quoted as saying by AFP.

Marine Le Pen's French National Assembly (NA) dealt a heavy defeat to Emmanuel Macron's centrist alliance.

The NC garnered more than twice as many votes as the head of state's alliance, according to projected results.

The CN list, led by 28-year-old Jordan Bardella, garnered between 32.3-33.0% of the vote compared to 14.8-15.2% for Macron's alliance led by his Renaissance party.

Speaking to supporters, Bardella said the French had "expressed a desire for change" and called on Macron to call snap parliamentary elections.

The result is the best ever recorded by the National Assembly in a French election.

The only consolation for the ruling party is that it managed to retain second place ahead of the Socialists, who came third with 13-14% of the vote.

The results are a heavy blow for Macron, who has long presented himself as a bulwark against the far right in Europe and twice defeated National Front leader Marine Le Pen in presidential elections.

The election results also mark a critical moment as eyes turn to the French presidential vote in 2027, when Macron cannot run again and Le Pen has a huge chance of winning the Elysee Palace position.

Later, Macron will address France on the results, the presidency said. | BGNES