The two remaining contenders for the French presidency, centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, on Wednesday battled it out on live TV one last time before Sunday’s nail-biting run-off vote. FRANCE 24 captured the key moments.
Wednesday night’s debate kicked off with Le Pen calling Macron a “smirking banker”. Macron responded by accusing his rival of being a liar, setting the tone for a pugnacious debate.
The first hour of the debate was dominated by economic issues, including policies to tackle unemployment, budget deficits and revamping the economy.
On national security, Le Pen accused Macron of lacking a plan to tackle Islamist fundamentalism. Macron said his rival’s security plan would divide France, thereby fulfilling the goals of the terrorists.
The second half of the 2.5-hour-long debate focused on international policies, including the European Union, the euro, and France’s place in the world.
While Le Pen accused Macron of being German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s lapdog, saying “in any case, France will be run by a woman: Me or Madame Merkel,” Macron accused Le Pen of fear-mongering and challenged her stance on the euro, because “a big company cannot pay in euros on one hand and pay its employees in francs on the other”.
63 percent of people surveyed by Elabe pollsters for BFM TV found Macron more convincing in the debate than Le Pen.