Marine Le Pen 'serious alternative' to Macron says Jacobelli
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With both Ms Le Pen and Mr Macron safely through to the second round of the elections, the pair will face off in their bid to reach the Élysée Palace. The second round voting is due to take place on April 24, and will either see the incumbent hold for a second term, or Ms Le Pen becomes the first female president. Five years ago, during the last TV debate, a confident Mr Macron tore apart Ms Le Pen’s lack of preparation and knowledge over economic figures.
This time, the gloves are off in the Le Pen corner, with many predicting a surprise as the better prepared National Rally leader seeks to avenge her last outing.
However, the fight will not solely impact France.
With France currently holding the rotating EU presidency, as well as playing a part in the attempted broker diplomacy between Russia and Ukraine, the wider EU will be paying close attention to both candidates in tonight’s performance.
Politico notes: “Though intended for some 45 million French voters, the debate will have an impact on 450 million EU citizens as — with no exaggeration — the future of their Union could hinge on it.”
Both candidates have varying views on the European Union – with Mr Macron argued by some critics as wanting to be the “king of Europe”.
The once anti-EU Ms Le Pen has also changed her stance on the bloc, admitting the alliance is a vital part of France’s political identity, however, many of her policies put France first.
Opponents of Ms Le Pen, as well as commentators, have suggested her strategy “Frexit in all but name” – an approach that, while it may no longer aim to remove France from the bloc, seeks to fundamentally refashion it, and could lead to a paralysing standoff with Brussels.
One political commentator, Mujtaba Rahman said: “Le Pen’s EU policy is: ‘We’re going to stay in the bus but drive it off a cliff.’”
Pascal Lamy, who was chief of staff to the former European Commission president Jacques Delors, said a Ms Le Pen victory would be a major shock on a bigger scale “than Trump was for the United States or Brexit for the UK”.
One of Ms Le Pen’s key election promises is the notion to hold a referendum over citizenship, identity and immigration laws.
The move would see a so-called “national priority” plan come into action for French citizens in employment, social security benefits and public housing – a measure at risk of clashing with EU values and free movement rules.
With many industrial towns in France feeling the economic pinch following the impact of the Covid pandemic, and the ongoing energy crisis, guarantees of protection for French jobs are a welcome piece of news for many.
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For Mr Macron, ambitions to lead in Europe have seen some label the choices of candidates as a vote for internationalism with the incumbent, and a vote for France with the challenger.
Current polls conducted for IFOP in France predict 74 percent turnout in the second round of the votes, with 26 percent likely to abstain.
Many suggest the 20 percent of voters following Jean Luc Melenchon will be decisive in choosing the next president.
The same poll suggests Mr Macron will win the second round by 55-45, however, many warn of a surprise result.
Will Marine Le Pen oust Emmanuel Macron? If you were voting in the French elections, who would you vote for and why? Is a vote for Macron simply a vote against Le Pen? Let us know what you think by CLICKING HERE and joining the conversation in our comments section below – Every Voice Matters!
The TV election tonight will surely change the ratings depending on the performances.
Should Ms Le Pen deliver a convincing message come April 24, France may well be about to see Ms Len succeed on her third attempt to become head of state.
Coverage of the debate will be shown on major French TV networks from 8pm central European time.
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