Presidential TV debate and election: the week ahead in France

The France 2 and TF1 debate will take place on Wednesday evening, followed by the second round vote on Sunday

A split image of Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron, both during speeches
A televised debate between the two presidential candidates will take place this Wednesday (April 20)
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The week ahead will see a TV debate between presidential candidates Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, followed by the second round of voting on Sunday April 24.

The debate will begin at 21:00 on Wednesday (April 20), and will last for a little over two hours. It will be co-produced by France 2 and TF1, but will also be available on LCI and Franceinfo channel 27.

The debate will be hosted by Léa Salamé for France 2 and Gilles Bouleau for TF1.

Since 1974, a televised debate has taken place between the two rounds of each presidential election, attracting millions of viewers. The only time it did not happen was in 2002, when Jacques Chirac refused to appear against Jean-Marie Le Pen.

In 2017, the presidential election debate brought together the same two candidates before 16.4 million viewers. The programme worked mostly in Mr Macron’s favour, and this perhaps contributed in some way to his eventual 66.1% of the vote, although he was already pulling away from Ms Le Pen in the polls.

On the day of the debate, the order in which the candidates are allowed to respond to questions will be drawn out of a hat. Both presidential hopefuls must be accorded the same amount of time to give their answers.

Media appearances

In addition to the television debate, both Mr Macron and Ms Le Pen will be making various media appearances over the course of the week.

Ms Le Pen will be interviewed by France bleu and RTL today (April 18) and will make a visit to Arras (Pas-de-Calais) on Thursday.

Mr Macron was in Marseille this Saturday (April 16), and is expected to go to Ile-de-France tomorrow. Following the presidential debate, he will carry out two final visits to Occitanie and Auvergne or Bourgogne on Thursday and Friday, Le Parisien reports.

The second round vote

The second round of this year’s presidential election will take place on Sunday, two weeks after the first.

The most recent second round poll, which was carried out by Ipsos Sopra Steria for Franceinfo and Le Parisien, suggests that Mr Macron will win the election with 55.5% of the vote.

The president-candidate’s share of the vote has been gradually creeping upwards since the first round on April 10, when polls predicted he would take around 53%.

This latest poll was completed between April 14 and April 16, using responses from nearly 1,700 people.

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