Macron and Le Pen prepare for decisive French election debate

Centrist President Emmanuel Macron and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen reserved this Tuesday (19) for the preparation of Wednesday’s crucial televised debate (20), with the hope of tipping the presidential balance in their favor, the five days of the second round in France.

According to the most recent polls, Macron, with between 53% and 55.5% of the votes, would once again win Le Pen (44.5% and 47%) in the vote next Sunday (24), but the candidate of the The National Regroupment (RN) party significantly reduced the distance compared to the 2017 duel (66.1% to 33.9% in the second round).

“I will prepare for the debate at home, as I do for all debates,” said Marine Le Pen, who on Monday met with voters in Normandy (northwest), before facing the final stretch of her third presidential campaign. .

The 2017 debate was terrible for the far-right candidate, criticized for her “aggressiveness” and “lack of preparation”. A few days later, she admitted to a “strategic error”, a mea culpa that she reiterated in the current campaign.

Macron took advantage of Easter Monday, a holiday in France, to give three interviews to radio and television stations, in which he drew attention to the abstention and returned to talk about the consequences of the arrival of the far right to power.

“Think about what British citizens were saying a few hours before Brexit or in the United States before the vote on (Donald) Trump: ‘I’m not going to attend, what’s the point?’ I can say that the next day they regretted it,” the centrist told France 5 channel.

The 44-year-old candidate for the Republic on the Move (LREM) party is trying to revive the radical image of the National Front heiress, which Marine Le Pen managed to erase in the first round by avoiding issues such as migration or security.

After a discreet first round and in which she presented herself as a defender of purchasing power, Le Pen, 53, is now seeking to reassure the French about her eventual government, saying she will run France like a “mother of a family”.

‘New impulse’

The debate scheduled for Wednesday night, which will be moderated by journalists Gilles Bouleau (from the private channel TF1) and Léa Salamé (from the public channel France 2), will be the first for Macron, who refused to meet his rivals in the first round.

The candidates want to attract the supporters of the leftist Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the third most voted in the first round (21.9%) and who asked his voters not to give any vote to Le Pen, but without asking for a vote directly for Macron.

Based on this appeal, a poll of more than 200,000 people who supported Mélenchon’s candidacy showed two-thirds in favor of a null, blank or abstention vote in the second round. The remaining third supported voting for the current president.

To try to convince them, Macron took a step back on his main proposal – raising the minimum retirement age from 62 to 65. The day after the first round, he declared himself open to increasing it to 64 years.

He is also trying to get rid of the image of “president of the rich” and has presented himself, for a few weeks, as someone close. One of the most recent demonstrations is a shirtless photograph, lying on a sofa, after a rally in Marseille.

Most of the candidates defeated in the first round asked to vote for Macron or against Le Pen. The latter also has the rejection of unions, athletes, actors…

Five days before the second round, the president received the support of his father, Jean-Michel Macron, who in an interview with the newspaper L’Est républicain said that he has “a lot of admiration” for his son and that the French are “very ungrateful”. regarding his first term.

If Macron is re-elected, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced that he would resign from the government a few days later, without waiting for the legislative elections in May, because in his opinion a “new impetus” is needed.

About Abhishek Pratap

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