Skip to Content

Fillon, Macron, Le Pen
Paris

Macron faces a determined Marine Le Pen in French presidential TV debate

Five of the French presidential candidates faced off in a televised debate Monday night.

Published: March 22, 2017, 8:07 am

    Read more

    Marine Le Pen clashed head-on with her probable presidential opponent, Emmanuel Macron, over immigration, integration and France’s international stature.

    The prelude to the election battle lasted for three and a half hours, with Le Pen and Macron standing out as the two main opponents in terms of policy. Socialist Benoît Hamon, the Republicans’ François Fillon, and the far-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon faded into the background.

    Macron, a former economy minister with no party adherents and who has never held an elected office, appeared nervous and flustered at times faced with a determined and self-assured Le Pen. She concentrated her fire on her inexperienced opponent.

    She skillfully forced Macron during the debate to define himself in opposition to her positions on immigration, jobs and the EU. Le Pen pointed out for example that Macron supported the burkini, the full-body swimsuit last summer: “We’ve got Islamists in our country,” Le Pen noted. “The demands are incessant,” she said, including in such matters as food and clothing.

    An unsettled Macron responded sheepishly: “I’m not putting words in your mouth. I don’t need a ventriloquist.”

    Macron tried his utmost to appear innocent and virtuous, but Le Pen demolished his attempt by highlighting his reputation for empty, longwinded speeches.

    Macron had ranted on about protecting France’s “independence” at length when Le Pen fired back: “You’ve spoken for seven minutes, and I have no idea what you said,” she said. “You haven’t said anything. Every time you talk, you take a little of this, and a little of that, and you never settle on anything.”

    Nicilas Dhuicq, a member of The Republicans party, told Sputnik News: “The media in France is pro-Macron, because he is a fresh face and he is pro-left. He is trying to present himself as something new and modern but, in fact, his speech was totally void of any real or clear ideas.”

    In turn, Macron accused Le Pen of making “enemies out of more than four million French men and women whose religion happens to be Islam”.

    Macron also rejected improved relations with Russia: “We have a long story with the United States. Together we have been building peace on the planet … Today I would like to offer more independence. Not to move closer to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin,” Macron declared.

    The first round in the presidential election will take place on April 23, and the top two candidates will advance to the second round on May 7. Opinion polls show that Le Pen and Macron are the most likely rivals to make it to the second round.

    According to a CSA poll published to coincide with the Treaty of Rome’s 60th anniversary, 66 percent of French voters want to remain in the European Union.

    That’s an increase of six percentage points compared to the end of June 2016, shortly after Brexit, matching trends in Austria and the Netherlands, where Euroskeptic candidates were defeated at the polls in elections last December and in March.

    In both the latter countries, nationalist candidates had softened their proposals on EU membership in the final weeks of campaigning.

    But Le Pen repeated her misgivings once more: “Europe is hampering us, Europe is controlling us,” she said in her closing statement Monday night. “Independence means the right to act for yourselves.”

    During the debate she repeatedly stressed her opposition to the European Union, saying she did not want “to become the vice-chancellor of Angela Merkel”.

    Keep ​your language polite​. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in​,​ for example​, ​Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.

    If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violation​s​ of​ any​ law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.

    If your comments are subject to preview ​by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.

    We reserve the right to del​ete​ comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.

    • DaveMD ✓ᴺᵃᵗᶦᵒᶰᵃˡᶦˢᵗᴰʳ

      She is a lioness. Any wimp can bury his head in the sand and pretend a problem is non-existent. Courage entails confrontation.

    Europe

    London: Mass rally to demand release of Tommy Robinson

    LondonAround 8 000 to 10 000 protesters gathered on Saturday, July 14, in London to show support and send a clear message to British politicians and lawmakers in the country: Free Tommy Robinson. The rally was subjected to extensive police surveillance.

    Trump and Putin meet in Helsinki to demolish ‘Russia probe’

    HelsinkiThe US president Donald Trump, is busy dismantling the global order single-handedly. In the past few weeks, Trump has confused his NATO allies, insulted the UK and called the EU - probably his closest ally - a "foe". And he has just met with the Russian president, accused of "meddling" in US affairs.

    Czech president calls latest EU migrant plan ‘road to hell’

    PragueThe Czech Republic does not want any of the 450 migrants rescued from a migrant vessel in the Mediterranean on Saturday, and neither does Italy. The Czech president called the EU's latest shared responsibility plan "a road to hell".

    French World Cup celebrations turn ugly

    ParisCelebrations in Paris after France's World Cup victory on Sunday turned ugly. While winning the event should have been good for the country's morale, the riots that followed suggested otherwise.

    Open Border NGOs face fresh child abuse allegations

    The NGO Save the Children, which was last year accused of working with human trafficking gangs smuggling migrants into Europe, has been exposed as yet another charity behind raping children in need.

    Dutch headline: ‘The whole of Amsterdam hates Femke Halsema as mayor’

    AmsterdamAmsterdam lost its mayor Eberhard van der Laan when he died last year. A new mayor has been appointed, which does not bode well for the city: Femke Halsema. She was the leader of GreenLeft until recently.

    Media hype boosts controversial leader of Belgian Sharia party

    BrusselsA party whose aim is to create an Islamic State in Belgium, is hoping to win seats in Belgium's municipal elections, scheduled to take place on 14 October this year. Two members of the Islam Party were elected in 2012, including one in the notorious Molenbeek area of Brussels. This year, the party hopes to win in 28 municipalities in all.

    Merkel denies Trump’s allegations of Russia’s ‘total control’

    BrusselsChancellor Merkel has rejected US President Donald Trump's allegation of political dependence on Russia. Germany could "make its own policy and make its own decisions," said Merkel on her arrival at the NATO summit in Brussels.

    Dutch report uncovers unpleasant facts about mosque in The Hague

    The HagueA reporter from Dutch broadcaster NOS contacted the chairman of the as-Sunnah mosque in The Hague to question him about certain incorrect statements concerning the funding for his organisation. The reporter uncovered other unpleasant surprises too.

    French security forces ‘on the verge of implosion’

    ParisCommissioned shortly after a wave of suicides among French security forces in the autumn of 2017, a new report has sounded the alarm on the country's security forces.

    Go to archive