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France Faces Risk Of Civil Unrest, Violence Due To Snap Polls, Says Interior Minister

France, polls, civic unrest, violence
FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron, surrounded by officials, walks on a platform at the Mairie de Saint-Ouen metro station before the inauguration of the extension of the Paris metro's line 14 and the new Saint-Denis Pleyel metro station, which runs from the north to the south of the capital, with new stations opened in time for the 2024 Summer Olympics, in Saint-Ouen, near Paris. REUTERS/Yves Herman/Pool

France could see civil unrest and violence that is related to the elections.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said this on Monday as campaigning enters its last week before the first round of voting.

France will be voting in two rounds – the first on June 30 and the second on July 7.

“It’s possible that there will be extremely strong tensions,” Darmanin told RTL radio. He added that authorities were preparing for a “highly inflammable” situation, with the vote taking place less than a month before the Paris 2024 Olympics.

“The people say ‘no’ to the Parisians, to the elites with their diplomas.”

President Emmanuel Macron shocked the nation with a decision to dissolve the National Assembly earlier this month. Macron is not on the ballot.

But for many voters, the election is perceived as a referendum on the fate of a president once seen as able to overcome political divisions.

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Macron’s approval ratings have collapsed after several political crises.  The collapse of his Ensemble (Together) coalition has meant the rise of the far right and the extreme left coalitions.

Both the far-right coalition the Rassemblement National (RN) and the leftwing Nouveau Front Populaire (NFP) are ahead of his centrist coalition in the opinion polls. The rise of the far right has alarmed France and the EU as it could upset long-held policy on Ukraine.

Macron told voters “I trust you,” in a ‘letter to the French’ published on Sunday. He sought to cast his camp, lagging in the polls, as the last hope for stability. Macron added: “I’m not blind: I’m aware of the democratic malaise.”

Macron also reiterated that he would stay in office until his term ends in 2027 regardless of the outcome of the election.

With inputs from Reuters