Live video | Macron - Le Pen Debate: The decisive face-to-face of the candidates for the French elections begins | International
The president of the French Republic, the centrist Emmanuel Macron, and the far-right candidate for the presidency of France, Marine Le Pen, face their first and only face-to-face this Wednesday. It is a decisive appointment, four days before the second round of the French elections, which will take place next Sunday. The journalists Andrea Rizzi and Guillermo Altares comment on the televised appointment, which EL PAÍS offers live and with simultaneous translation in the video that accompanies this news item. It also offers an alternative version with the original audio in French, which can be seen by clicking here. The polls give Macron an advantage. According to Ipsos, Macron would take 56.5% today and Le Pen 43.5%. In the first round, with more candidates, the current president got 27.8%. The leader of the National Rally (RN), 23.1%. This is the most open debate in recent years as both candidates seek to court a broad spectrum of undecided voters.
After the live broadcast, EL PAÍS will offer the possibility of rewatching the entire debate in both Spanish and French. A selection of head-to-head highlights will also be published.
The television program with the only debate before the elections on Sunday will last two and a half hours. It will include eight blocks. They start with the purchasing power of citizens, one of the great themes of the campaign. The first to speak is Marine Le Pen.
A duel with transcendental consequences for Europe
The debate between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen is a key moment in a political duel whose importance transcends the borders of France. The two candidates defend radically different visions of their country's role within the European Union and on the global stage. Together with Germany, France is the great driving force of the European project and a victory for Le Pen would represent an abrupt turnaround in community construction. The candidate pursues a profound reformulation of the EU, a withdrawal inspired by the idea of forming an alliance of sovereign nations without transferring extensive powers to community institutions as is currently the case. Le Pen also proposes France's departure from NATO's integrated command and maintains that, when the war in Ukraine ends, a close relationship with Putin's Russia should be rebuilt.
The most important debate in the recent history of France
The debate that tonight confronts President Emmanuel Macron and the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen is the most important since television confrontations between the two presidential rounds were held in 1974. Until now they have never changed an electoral result: the candidate for that the polls pointed to as the winner, he emerged comfortably victorious from the debate and confirmed his result the following Sunday. However, this time everything is much more complicated. It is no longer just an electoral race between two center-left and center-right blocs in which it was clear where the candidates were going to get their votes in the second round. This time, both are vying for the electorate of leftist Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who came third with 7.7 million votes and it is not at all clear where they will go. The future of France and Europe depends on it.
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