The centrist incumbent played a familiar tune of heavy investment in French industry and a persistent commitment to the European Union. Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Rally party, cast herself as the voice of the public fighting against the crisis on account of the ‘cost of living.’
Le Pen lost to Macron in the 2017 runoff. She said that she had an obligation to be the spokesperson for the people and vowed to be the President of sovereignty.
She said that her top priority for the next five years is to give the French their money back. She repeated her campaign promise to cut VAT (value-added tax) on energy and fuel.
The relations of Macron and Le Pen with Russia flared in an exchange of views during the nearly three-hour television debate broadcast on TF1 and France 2. Macron emphasized a loan to a Russian bank that the party of Le Pen is still paying off.
Macron said that Mrs. Le Pen is not talking to other leaders. She is talking to her banker when she is talking to Russia.
Le Pen has been a vocal admirer of Vladimir Putin, Russian President, for a long time. Currently, she is considered a pariah in the West due to his unprovoked attack on Ukraine. Le Pen visited the Russian strongman during the 2017 presidential campaign, but this time she was forced to drop a promotional flyer with a photo of her and Putin taken during that trip.
Le Pen’s previous aversion to NATO could also drag, as recent polls show most people polled support France’s participation.
In Ukraine, Le Pen strongly supported her opponent’s material support for the country and sanctions against Russia, except for the ban on Russian oil and gas imports.
She said that she doesn’t think that’s the right method. That’s not what will hurt Russia. And above all, that will greatly harm the French people.
Macron added that Russia had been tracking a ‘suicidal course of action’ in Ukraine. However, he refused to call Moscow’s actions in the country’s genocide,’ prompting an incitement from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to come up to them and witness the proof.
Is Macron An ‘Out Of touch Leader’?
Right through the deliberations, Le Pen exposed Macron as a leader ‘out of touch with voters.’ She claimed that he was ignoring the suffering of health workers before covid-19 while promising more investment in health care.
Macron called a climate hypocrite for following climate policies By Le Pen. Such policies are basing on encouraging consumers to buy electric cars, which she said were financially out of reach for many French people.
Le Pen said that they must have an (energy) transition, but that must be, over time, much slower than what they are imposing on the French to allow them to deal with it.
Obstinate defense of France’s commitment to Macron towards the European Union was also a hot issue in the television debate with Le Pen.
The President argued that the European Union worked in favor of France, mainly at times of facing issues with markets like the US and China, whose populations far outnumber his own.
That is where Europe serves them. When Google comes and attacks them in their market, who comes and helps them?. We should know if it is Europe or some others. Further, when these large groups do not pay their taxes in our countries, what allows us to fight back.
Le Pen, who in the 2017 elections called for France to leave the EU, has softened his stance, promising reform of the bloc and an alliance of nations.
Le Pen also returned to one of her core policies, such as banning the wearing of Hijabs in public.
She said she thinks the veil is a uniform imposed by the Islamists. She thinks most women who wear one can’t do anything else, even if they do not dare say so.
Macron accused her of creating a structure of equivalence and similarity between Islamism, terrorism, and foreigners that would create a civil war.
They expected the contest between Macron and Le Pen to be close.
Candidates cannot campaign a day before the vote nor on the day of the election. The media will be subject to stern reporting limitations and restrictions from before the election until the polls close in France.