Macron, Le Pen face off in high stakes election debate this eve

Macron, Le Pen face off in high stakes election debate this eve

N Melo
by N Melo
April 20, 2022 0

Macron, Le Pen face off in high stakes election debate this eve

French President Emmanuel Macron and far-right challenger Marine Le Pen will face off on Wednesday evening in their only debate ahead of Sunday’s presidential election.

For Le Pen, who lags Macron in voter surveys, the much awaited confrontation is a chance to persuade voters she has the stature to be president and they should not fear seeing the far-right in power.

For Macron, possibly the biggest challenge to keeping his growing lead in opinion polls will be to not sound arrogant – something many voters have criticised him for – while poking at the holes he sees in Le Pen’s policy plans.

Macron, Le Pen face off in high stakes election debate this eve
Macron, Le Pen face off in high stakes election debate this eve

On arrival at the TV headquarters, Le Pen said she was “relaxed”, while Macron said he was “focused, ready for a debate that will allow each of us to explain our ideas for France”.

The election presents voters with two opposing visions of France: Macron offers a pro-European, liberal platform, while Le Pen’s nationalist manifesto is founded on deep euroscepticism.

Some 14% of voters are waiting for the debate to decide who to vote for, while 12% say it will be decisive for whether they will vote at all, a poll by OpinionWay-Kea Partners for Les Echos newspaper showed.

“I’m keen to see what happens,” voter Joseph Lombard said in Paris. “It’s always a boxing match.”

But sources on both side said they wanted a calm debate – so much so that a source close to Macron, aware of the debate preparations, said it could be “boring”.

“The president must show he is solid … without sounding arrogant,” the source said. “He will be very serious, and she must also show she is solid on the substance.”

A source close to Le Pen said she wanted “a calm debate, project vs project”.

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