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French hopefuls Macron and Le Pen trade barbs

Sunday, February 05, 2017 - 01:36

France's Marine Le Pen formally launched her presidential campaign this weekend and traded barbs with Emmanuel Macron, an independent candidate catapulted into the lead. Lucy Fielder reports.

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A weekend of rallies for France's two presidential frontrunners... Far right leader Marine Le Pen formally launching her campaign in Lyon promising freedom, and to shield voters from globalization. Another pledge that goes down well with the crowd: holding a referendum on EU membership after Britain's lead. On the other side of town - and the political divide - centrist hopeful Emmanuel Macron rousing his supporters with an attack on Le Pen, Mocking her slogan "in the name of the people". [UPSOT MACRON] "Some people pretend today to talk for the people, but they are only ventriloquists." Le Pen's anti-immigration National Front would betray France's ideals of "liberty, equality and fraternity" says Macron, standing as an independent. The Le Pen camp responding with their own barbs that the investment banker and former economy minister is the candidate of "international capitalism". Macron pollsters' favourite to win since a scandal engulfed Francois Fillon. Front-runner a week ago, centre right Fillon's under pressure to drop his presidential bid because of accusations he paid his wife a large salary for nothing. His Republican party fears it could now miss the March deadline and field no candidate at all. Leaving Macron and Le Pen to battle it out. Latest polls predicting Macron would beat Le Pen in the election's second round in May.

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French hopefuls Macron and Le Pen trade barbs

Sunday, February 05, 2017 - 01:36