Final race between Macron and Le Pen towards the French Presidency – 04/17/2022

Paris, April 17, 2022 (AFP) – Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen begin the last week of their campaign on Monday, marked by a high-stakes televised debate between the two candidates in the second round of France’s presidential elections in April 24th.

A week after the vote, nothing was decided. The polls offer a narrow 53-55.5% lead for the outgoing president over his far-right adversary.

The margin is much smaller than in 2017, when Macron won with 66% of the votes. The challenge of the second round is to convince the undecided and abstentionists, who in the first round surpassed 26% of the census.

It will be especially important to mobilize the left-wing electorate, the arbiter of this fierce race. Since the close of the first round on April 10, the two finalists have continued to make ecological and social promises to the electorate of radical leftist leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who came in third with nearly 22% of the vote.

Since the release of the results of the first round, won by Macron (27.8%) ahead of Le Pen (23.1%), the two candidates have resumed their campaign, multiplying displacements, encounters with crowds and participation on the radio and On TV.

– A crucial debate – With a week before the second round, in a tense campaign context and with the far right closer to power than ever before, Wednesday’s televised debate appears to be decisive.

The traditional duel held since 1974 in the two rounds of all presidential elections in France will be moderated by a journalist from the public channel France 2 and another from the private channel TF1.

Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron “have a lot at stake”, estimates sociologist and political communication specialist Philippe Riutort.

In 2017, the debate was disastrous for Le Pen, who was aggressive and unprepared against the centrist leader, which, according to many analysts, largely caused her defeat.

Five years later, the far-right leader softened her image, worked on her program and implemented a proximity campaign, achieving a more “presidential” profile.

“I am prepared because I have experience, I worked a lot on the project, I adjusted my project with them (the French), I brought it closer to their realities, to their hopes, a serious project, balanced, budgeted project”, said the candidate on Friday. .

Macron, on the other hand, does not underestimate an “extremely tight” debate, admits his entourage.

Macron, who no longer has the freshness of five years ago, is likely to try to dismantle his opponent’s program, pointing out the radical aspects he tried to cover up in the campaign on issues such as immigration or institutions.

He will also try to correct his image, sometimes perceived as being too far right among left-wing voters.

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