Macron and Le Pen head-to-head in televised debate

Last chance for presidential candidates to woo voters, tonight at 21.00 on TF1 and France 2

Presidential candidates Emmanuel Macron (En Marche!) and Marine Le Pen (Front National), will go head-to-head in a live television debate this evening.

The debate, four days before the decisive second round of voting, represents the last chance to appeal to undecided or abstaining voters, with nearly two out of ten voters still undecided according to a poll.

An Elabe poll for BFMTV published on Tuesday, said 18% of people who are certain or almost certain to vote on Sunday have not expressed any preference at this stage.

High abstention rates normally favour non-mainstream parties, but both Mr Macron (centre) and Mrs Le Pen (right) fit that bill.

As the debate approached, both politicians were doing the rounds of TV and radio studios yesterday.

On BFMTV Mr Macron said that if he is used “as a punch bag” by Marine Le Pen, he will leave the debate within half an hour of it beginning. “I will not be drawn into invective and insult. That’s Marine Le Pen territory.

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"I want to go hand-to-hand, to fight against the underlying ideas to prove that her ideas are false solutions,” he added.

Meanwhile Mrs Le Pen aimed a barbed tweeted at her opponent: "If Mr Macron does not feel at ease, he can always ask François Hollande to hold his hand. I would not object to that.”

The Front National candidate was yesterday accused of stealing portions of a speech given last month by defeated rival from the first round, François Fillon.

The phrases ‘three maritime borders’ and ‘Italy, our sister’, as well as a George Clemenceau (France’s Prime Minister early in the 20th century) quote, were used by le Pen as she attempted to woo Fillon voters for the final ballot.

Latest polls show Macron as the favourite to win with 60% of the vote.

The debate is live on TF1 and France2 from 21.00, and streamed on MYTF1 and TV PLUZZ (click on the DIRECT link).

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