Published: Thu, March 23, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

French presidential candidates face off in first TV debate

French presidential candidates face off in first TV debate

The weaker-than-expected performance of the far right, anti-Islamic party of Geert Wilders in last week's Dutch parliamentary election has contributed to the perception among investors that there is now less chance of Le Pen winning the French presidential election - the focal point of market anxiety for the next six weeks.

A senior aide to centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron, Le Pen's main opponent in the election and the favourite to win, has accused Russian Federation of using its state media to spread fake news to discredit Macron and influence the outcome of the vote.

Le Pen is an outspoken defender of French colonialism.

Le Pen would get 27% in the first round vote, according to the latest Opinionway poll.

As Macron was discussing foreign policy, Le Pen portrayed him as wishy-washy, muttering: "It's empty, completely empty".

In a bid to show her support for France's anti-terrorism military operations in the Sahel region of Africa, Le Pen met Tuesday with Chad president Idriss Deby and planned to tour the French military base in N'Djamena on Wednesday.

Some of the most heated exchanges centred on the place of religion in France and the separation of church and state.

In the first debate of the top five contenders to become the next president of France, Le Pen, the anti-euro anti-immigration candidate, made a show of dominance with blunt propositions to ban all immigration and impose a 35 percent tariff on certain imported goods.

"Marine Le Pen has had some success with her message to Africans", Jean-Claude Camus of the Jean Jaures Foundation told DW, "saying that you are masters of your own destiny in the same way that we should be the master of our own".

"It was the first time I was in front of him and I take my hat off to him because I have never met anyone who could speak for several minutes without actually putting forward any clear ideas".

For her part Le Pen was combative and belligerent throughout especially when attacked on her hardline on Islam and her plan to pull France out of the euro.

On the right, deep legal woes have upended the candidacy of Francois Fillon, previously the hands-down favourite to win in May.

Like this: