The candidates in France’s presidential election faced each other for the first time in a televised debate on Monday. The debate featured five prominent candidates, the conservative Francois Fillon, independent centrist, Emmanuel Macron, far-left Jean-Luc Melencshon. Front National Marine Le Pen and Benoit Hamon of the Socialist Party.
Polls indicate that Marine Le Pen will win in the first round, with Emmanuel Macron close behind. Once the favorite to win the presidency, Francois Fillon is trailing in the polls after a corruption damaged his popularity.
Le Pen and Macron are seen as the likely candidates to enter the run-off, but the polls suggest Macron would easily beat Le Pen.
During the first presidential debate, Le Pen launched fresh attacks on the EU and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Ms Le Pen said: “I want to be the president of the French Republic, truly. I am not going to become involved in a vague region in Europe. I don’t want to be the vice-chancellor of Madame Merkel.”
I don’t want to be the salesperson for multinational or large group. I want to be president of the French Republic which respects article five which states the president guarantees national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
It is not just empty words. Thousands of French people died for our national independence.
It means the right to decide for themselves and I believe the French people have the right to choose to define their own identity to defend their values and traditions, to rearm when faced with international competition without being lectured or criticised by a supranational structure.
She also stated that France needs to defend its borders against Islamic extremism and fight globalization and the influence of the EU.
According to the polls, almost 40 percent of voters are still not sure who to back in the election. The first televised presidential debate could be a turning point, as it represents an opportunity for the candidates to sway undecided voters.
The centrist, pro-EU candidate Emmanuel Macron, said:
As far as I’m concerned I’m not a member of the political establishment. I’m here because I’ve been working hard. I was a civil servant, a banker. I’m proud of having been a banker I became a government minister and I fought for what I believe in.
I have seen what is blocking our country is ancient rules that are obsolete.
Macron, the former economy minister and investment banker, is still the favorite to win the presidency.
Source: Daily Express