PARIS (NEWSnet/AP) — President Emmanuel Macron dissolved the National Assembly of France’s parliament in a surprise announcement Sunday, sending voters to the polls in the coming weeks to choose lawmakers for the country.

The legislative elections will take place in two rounds: June 30 and July 7.

France holds separate elections for its National Assembly and for the country’s president. Macron’s term as president continues for another three years.

The decision came after the first projected results from France put the far-right National Rally party well ahead in the European Union’s parliamentary elections, handing a chastening loss to Macron’s pro-European centrists, according to French opinion poll institutes.

France is electing 81 members of the European Parliament, which has 720 seats in total.

Marine Le Pen’s anti-immigration, nationalist party was estimated to get around 31%-32% of the votes, a historic result more than double the share of Macron’s Renaissance party, which was projected to reach around 15%.

In latest legislative elections in 2022, Macron’s centrist party won the most seats but lost its majority at the National Assembly, forcing lawmakers into political maneuvering to pass bills.

Reacting to Macron’s announcement, far-left politician Francois Ruffin called on all leaders from the left, including the Greens, to unite under a single “Popular Front” banner. “To avoid the worse, to win,” he wrote on X.

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