Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen clashed on Wednesday night, with the populist challenger pressuring the president in a debate over topics including Islamism, immigration and the economy.
Neither Emmanuel Macron nor his populist rival Marine Le Pen showed any mercy during the decisive French presidential election debate on Wednesday night, an event which was to be the defining moment of the campaign for the Elysee Palace.
However, unlike the one-sided bloodbath that took place in 2017, the war of words does not appear to end with a definite winner, with both candidates giving as much as they got judging by the response from the general public.
According to a report by The worldthe candidates fought over a wide range of topics during the nearly three-hour political brawl, ranging from discussions of Le Pen’s perceived closeness to Russia to Macron’s gratuitous acquiescence to the European Union.
The economy has also served as a major flashpoint for the two politicians, with Le Pen pressuring Macron over his various failures over his past five years in office, while promising deep tax cuts for the average Frenchman. in times of rapid inflation.
Macron hit back by accusing Le Pen of leading France into a “civil war” if elected to the highest office thanks to his proposed policy which would see the Muslim hijaab headscarf banned in public spaces.
Le Pen, however, did not accept this accusation, defending his policy as a method of combating Islamic extremism, and not as an attempt to restrict religious freedom in France. Indeed, a study from the Paris School of Economics this year that was recently published in the French media found that banning the headscarf in school actually increased the academic achievement of the girls affected, which may play into favor of Le Pen in the minds of some voters. .
The National Rally also once again pushed for its promise to hold a referendum on immigration, an idea which apparently offended Macron, who claimed that the “posture” position was not in line with the French democratic system, though Le Pen countered that his actions over the past five years have certainly not been in keeping with the traditional workings of French democracy either.
French presidential election: Macron and Le Pen brace for grudge match debate as polls remain tighthttps://t.co/584tT6gvRX
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While some seemed to conclude that the debate had no clear winner, it looks like it will be Le Pen who will be most pleased with the outcome of the clash.
After being so badly scratched from the debating chamber during the 2017 clash that she refuses to this day to watch or listen to a recording, the veteran populist candidate took out the guns on Wednesday evening, apparently finding herself able to answer difficult questions. to her by Macron.
Moreover, the outsider candidate has also put Macron under heavy pressure over his closeness to the European Union over the continuing difficulties facing French farmers, forcing the faltering leader of La République en Marche to try to explain how he is getting on. was committed to supporting French agriculture without throwing the EU under the proverbial bus.
That said, members of the president’s camp are also likely breathing a sigh of relief with the debate now over, with the often bravado-prone centrist managing to maintain his composure throughout the proceedings, something some apparently feared. he cannot do. .
The apparent deadlock in the debate is also likely to favor Macron, with the president still maintaining a slim but seemingly stable lead over Madame Le Pen in the polls.