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French presidential rivals clash in crucial TV debate

Thursday, May 04, 2017 - 01:44

Far-right candidate Marine Le Pen and centrist Emmanuel Macron clashed over their vision of France's future, the euro and ways of fighting terrorism in a televised debate on Wednesday before Sunday's run-off vote for the presidency. Scarlett Cvitanovich reports.

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Their last showdown before France chooses its next president on Sunday (May 7). Far-right candidate Marine Le Pen and centrist Emmanuel Macron clashing on their vision of the country's future, the euro and ways of fighting terrorism. The National Front's Le Pen attacking her rival as heir to the outgoing unpopular Socialist government and playing up his background as a former investment banker and economy minister. Using the platform to criticise her 39-year-old opponent as a 'smirking banker' representing 'globalisation gone wild'. But Macron struck back - telling Le Pen she was 'talking nonsense' and 'not answering the questions'. A point also raised by his supporters (SOUNDBITE) (French) 24-YEAR-OLD MACRON SUPPORTER, CAMILLE RUAULT, WHO WORKS IN MARKETING, SAYING: "I think that Emmanuel Macron is really very, very good, he explains his manifesto well despite Marine Le Pen's attacks, unlike her, who has done nothing but attack him from the beginning, and we have not at all understood her programme so far." Macron savaged Le Pen's flagship policy of abandoning the euro, calling it a fatal plan that would unleash a currency war and pressing her on how it would work in practice. The sharpest exchange was over national security. A sensitive issue in a country where more than 230 people have been killed by Islamist militants since 2015. The ill-tempered televised debate attracted millions of viewers. A snap opinion poll showing 63 percent found Macron more convincing. Reinforcing his status as favourite to win on Sunday. Opinion polls show he has a strong lead of 20 percentage points over Le Pen.

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French presidential rivals clash in crucial TV debate

Thursday, May 04, 2017 - 01:44