The presidential debate in France: Le Pen VS Macron


On the 3d May, at 21.00 (Paris time) the debates of the candidates for the presidency of France started. In the first round of presidential elections (April 23) Emmanuel Macron received 24.01%, Marin Le Pen - 21.30% of electoral voices. This debates lasted more than two and a half hours. The candidates presented their projects of reformation of French economy and social policy, described their vision of France's foreign policy (the ways of fighting with terrorism, relations with the EU, Russia and the United States).

"Mr. Macron is the candidate of wild globalization, the war of all against all"

The tone of these debates was extremely aggressive. Le Pen regularly accused Macron of being not only a successor and heir to the left-liberal political course of the socialist government, but also the the activist of this disastrous policy for France during last years (In  2014-2016 Macron was the Minister of the Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs of France). It seems that the main goal of Le Pen in these debates was to show the "true face" of Macron, to expose him as a "protege" of the globalist elites and the enemy of the French people, culture, civilization.

Le Pen counterposed herself to this "system". She regularly reminded viewers that she is a 'candidate from the people', a «candidate from historical  and cultural France», a candidate who opposes the "unipolar" ideology of global world elites.

Macron, the head of the "En Marche" movement, during all the debates denied his succession to the left-liberal government of Holland and stressed that he was a "new" politician with a "new program" (he called himself "neither leftist nor right" – in his declamations his program seems to be a blending of the right economy with left politics). The main goal of Macron is the "unification" and "reconciliation" of divided France.The only question is: who is he going to reconcil and unify -- workers and capitalists, islamists and catholics,french people and migrants? But how?  Is  it not the question of declaration, but a question of deep strategy, of which Macrone never talks. He adroitly parried Le Pen's accusations, it seemed that for each of them he had pre-prepared words, words and words... The leitmotif of his retaliatory attacks was the accusation of Le Pen in nationalism, protectionism and isolationism. "You want to get out of history," -- Macron cried to Le Pen. More than once Macron groundlessly characterized Le Pen as an "ultra-right-wing politician".

The role of moderators-journalists in these debates was reduced to a minimum: they simply were not heard behind the dispute between the two candidates. Both Le Pen and Macron constantly interrupted each other, the conversation flowed into personal accusations, the candidates reacted to the opponent briskly, not hiding hostility: Le Pen during Macron's speeches did not restrain laughter and smirks, Macron was clearly restless, extremely excited and several times raised his voice. It was a real clash of two absolutely opposite, different Frances. Nobody expected such aggression in discours and intonations neither form Le Pen, nor from  Macron. There was something desperate in these debates: Le Pen tried to disrupt the mask from Macron, to uncover his true face, and he diligently tried to stay in the image of a "new" candidate who supposedly could unite the people,concealing thefact of rapid technical creation of this image by liberal media magnates.


"The candidate of globalization" against "the candidate of the people"

Le Pen from the very beginning built her speech on the denial of the Macron project: "Mr. Macron is a candidate of wild globalization, a war of all against all. All this is controlled by Mr. Holland, and  large financial circles... I am a candidate of the people, a candidate of  France we love. The French were already able to see the true nature of Mr. Macron, his benevolence was replaced by slander, the smile was a smirk, the machine of the socialist party took everything into its own hands. (...) The banker's coldness and prudence, which you (Macron-Ed.) never concealed, came out at the surface. "

Emmanuel Macron was described by Marine Le Pen as «a puppet of globalism» and a "pet system of elites." The project of Le Pen was characterised as an 'alternative project» that protects culture, civilization, nation and national borders from external threats. Macron in his opening speech ( to which Le Pen reacted sharply) declared that Marin Le Pen is "the true heiress of the French ultra-right" and the Le Pen family, the bearer of " Spirit of defeat ". In his opinion,  Le Pen's negative attitude towards globalization and euroskepticism is nothing but, a defeatist mood and a fear of a" new "type of globalization».

The head of the movement "En Marche" believes that he is a candidate of "changes" and renovation (by the way,it is interesting to remember the pre-election slogan of Hollande in 2012 – «Le changement, c'est maitenant»).

After a brief self-presentation of the candidates, the moderators of the conversation asked how they plan to fight the unemployment (currently about 10% of citizens in France are unemployed, François Hollande, who came to power with slogans about the need to fight unemployment, only exacerbated). Macron said that France is the only country in Europe that can not reduce unemployment: "It is necessary to give our small and medium-sized enterprises the opportunity to create jobs, be more flexible, adapt to economic cycles." Le Pen noted that Macron is personally guilty for the high unemployment rate inFrance (Macron was the minister of the economy in 2014-2016,  during this period tht unemployment had been growing rapidly, and in 2016 Macron supported the law of El-Khomri, the reform, which simplifies the procedure for dismissing employees and increasing the length of the working day).

"Why did not you give Holland eone of your recipes to combat unemployment, beeng the minister of economics?"  "Perhaps it is because -- Marin Le Pen noted --  Macron's political philosophy is about the subordination of France to the requirements and norms of the EU that destroy the economy of France!" "Farmers have not seen that you support them, representatives of the industry also, except that you sold them to the foreign owners. You do not have the national spirit, you do not think about the interests of the nation. You protect private interests. " Macron quickly changed the direction of the conversation and accused Le Pen in the absence of the positive programme. The Programme of Marine Le Pen, in its economic basement is built on the left values: the reduction of the retirement age (from 62 to 60 years), the nationalization (to a certain extent) of the economy, the reduction of prices for electricity and gas.

The Maсron's economic program is totally liberal  -- one of the main points of his program is the reduction of income tax from 33.3% to 25%. Le Pen described Macron as a candidate who sees the world as if it allways can be bought: "In your community – all is for sale and purchase. (...) You do not see the human relations. " Macron said that the economic project of Le Pen is unrealizable and her idea to reduce the retirement age can be brought to life only by raising taxes.


The theme of the fight against the terrorism did not reconcile the candidates. Le Pen recalled that her main program on combating terrorism is the restoration of national borders, the deportation of persons involved in the lists of the special services «les fichés S» («the list of persons suspected of having links with Islamic radicals, "potential terrorists", people representinga threat to the state's security ), closing the Salafi mosques. Marine Le Pen noted that Macron has no program to combat terrorism, and he was linked with Islamic radicals (for example, the Union of Islamic organizations of France (UOIF) urged Muslims of France to vote for Macron - an alliance includes more than 250 Muslim associations, among which there are radical Islamist groups). Macron denied the relationship with this organization. He further stated that the border closure is not necessary and that France needs a tighter cooperation with the EU in the common fight with the terrorism. It is in the collaboration with the EU that it would be possible to put an end to terrorism in France.

"Russia and the US: the logic of foreign policy Le Pen and Macron

Macron said that he is a supporter of "strong France ", whose priority is the fight against Islamic terrorism. But the only way to gain success in this struggle,  is to  necessarily  strengthen cooperation with the United States. He also noticed thatit is necessary to conduct a dialogue with Russia, but Macron underlined  that he "will not follow the diacatorship of Putin."With Russia France has different values," - claimed the globalist.  
Marine Le Pen noted that it is necessary to maintain a dialogue with the main players of the multipolar world - both with Russia and with the United States. France should gain the independence, get out of the dictates of Germany and the US.

"France of the  Capital" against the "People's France"

In the end of the debates the candidates were given a few minutes for the final word. Marine Le Pen was confident and laconic "The France you are defending is not France. This is an indoor market. This is a war of all against all. Your vision of France is at odds with mine. <...> I believe that France is a country with culture, hope, people. France is plunged into chaos by your political friends – those, who support you in this campaign».  Macron in return declared: "The France I strive for will not be divided. I will pursue a policy of reconciliation in order to win the fight against terrorism, unemployment and illiteracy".

30 minutes after the end of the debate, the BFMTV channel presented data from the Elabe center: 63% of the viewers (a total of 1,314 spectators) consider that Macron was more convincing, than Le Pen. Is it really so?  At this debate  two diametrically opposite projects were presented: the globalist project of Macron and the populist project of Le Pen. It's really two different Frances, two different countries. At the same time, according to Twitter statistics, the name of Le Pen during the debates was mentioned by users of the network 10% more often than Macron's. In October 2016 in the US, virtually all polls showed that Clinton was more convincing than Trump. And we know perfectly well what this turned out to be. We will wait for the results of the second round of the presidential elections in France ... They will be known very soon.