El debate televisivo Macron-Le Pen. Foto: DW.

Macron marches in front of Le Pen after the television debate

French President Emmanuel Macron and his rival Marine Le Pen squared off Wednesday night in a televised debate that underscored their differences, as the French prepare to vote in next Sunday’s presidential runoff.

The French media give Macron the victory in that debate. A BFMTV poll found that 59% of viewers agreed.

Another post-debate poll projects that the incumbent president will get 56% of the final vote on Sunday, April 24.

According to observers, Le Pen fared little better than the time the two clashed in 2017, a fiasco for the presidential candidate.

The newspaper Le Monde wrote today about last night’s debate: “Despite a decent performance in the debate, Marine Le Pen failed to make it a game changer.”

Elections in France: Macron consolidates advantage over Le Pen

For his part, Macron has been criticized for appearing smug. In accordance with Le Monde“by his often almost dismissive attitude or his willingness to constantly correct her on the numbers and the functioning of the State, the incumbent probably entrenched his image as an arrogant president, which has earned him much criticism.”

The candidates’ relations with Russia was one of the hot topics and sparked an exchange of views during the nearly three-hour debate broadcast on TF1 and France 2. Macron highlighted a loan to a Russian bank that Le Pen’s party is still paying off. . “You are not talking to other leaders, you are talking to your banker when you are talking to Russia. That is the problem, Mrs Le Pen », she said.

Le Pen has long been an admirer of Russian President Vladimir Putin. She visited Putin during his 2017 presidential campaign.

Referring to a loan Le Pen’s Rassemblement National party took from a Russian bank, Macron said: “You depend on Russian power and you depend on Mr Putin. When you talk about Russia, you are talking to your banker.”

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