TV duel: Macron accuses Le Pen of dependence on Russia

Status: 04/21/2022 00:26

Against the background of the Ukraine war, the incumbent accuses his rival of being close to Russia. Marine Le Pen also gets on the defensive in a duel with Emmanuel Macron.

At the start of their TV duel before the presidential election in France, incumbent Emmanuel Macron sharply attacked his challenger Marine Le Pen for her ties to Russia. By getting a loan from a Russian bank, she made herself dependent on Russian power, Macron said.

The head of state also made fun of Le Pen’s mistrust of the European Union and questioned its competence in dealing with economic data.

The only TV duel before the runoff election for the highest office in France was considered one of the highlights of the election campaign. Both Macron and Le Pen had meticulously prepared for the dispute over the past few days. The election will take place on Sunday. In polls, Macron is ahead of Le Pen, although the gap is significantly smaller than five years ago.

Sabine Rau, ARD Paris, on the TV duel between Macron and Le Pen

daily topics extra 11:00 p.m., April 21, 2022

Macron biting on Russia loan

In the TV debate, Macron tried to portray Le Pen as untrustworthy. He accused the head of the right-wing extremist Rassemblement National of dishonesty in her campaign promises.

Macron’s verbal attacks were particularly scathing when it came to a loan that Le Pen’s party took out with a Russian-Czech bank in 2014. The debt meant her hands would be tied in dealing with the Kremlin if she won the election, the president said. “You talk to your banker when you talk about Russia, that’s the problem.” Then Macron followed suit. “They made a choice that obviously proved to be a stumbling block to their political position and does not make them independent on the issue. That’s a fact.”

Le Pen reacted irritably and denied that the Kremlin had them in their pockets. Rather, she is “totally free”. Otherwise, your party will pay back the loan. Le Pen criticized the fact that Macron was even “dishonest” in raising the issue.

France before the election: the only television duel between Macron and Le Pen

daily topics extra 11:00 p.m., April 21, 2022

Le Pen’s start is reminiscent of the past

Despite her intensive preparation with close advisors, the challenger got off to an unfavorable start to the debate on Wednesday evening. She was allowed to speak first, but began before the opening melody of the duel had faded. Because of the music, Le Pen couldn’t be heard, so she paused and had to start again. She apologized.

In the last election campaign, Le Pen made a number of blunders in the TV duel, which, according to experts, dealt the deathblow of her campaign at the time. She appeared hesitant, searching through a stack of notes for answers, making faux pas and at times losing her temper. Macron, on the other hand, also proved to be solid when it came to questions of detail.

Unlike then, however, the presidential race is considered closer this time. So far in the election campaign, Le Pen has evidently been able to take advantage of widespread popular anger at high inflation. Before the runoff, she and Macron are likely to try to broaden their voter base. Many voters, especially those on the left, still don’t know who to vote for or whether they want to vote at all.

Macron against Le Pen: Relatively civilized exchange of blows without a clear winner in the TV duel

Sabine Wachs, ARD Paris, April 21, 2022 1:00 a.m

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