French election debate: three hours on air, but no clear victor

French election debate: three hours on air, but no clear victor

In a bid to show her support for France's anti-terrorism military operations in the Sahel region of Africa, Le Pen met Tuesday with Chad president Idriss Deby and planned to tour the French military base in N'Djamena on Wednesday.

If the polls are correct, Ms. Le Pen and Mr. Macron would finish first and second in the first round of balloting on April 23 and advance to a second-round faceoff on May 7.

Macron, a former economics minister with limited experience in public office, has cast himself as a centrist alternative to France's traditional left-right politics.

Opinion polls have for weeks shown Le Pen and Macron, an independent centrist who used to be Socialist President Francois Hollande's economy minister, pulling away from the pack in an election full of twists and turns which is taking place against a backdrop of high unemployment and sluggish growth.

Hamon said these were "dangerous" positions and insisted that Russian Federation had violated worldwide law.

The dollar held steady after a four-day drop and oil prices ticked higher on bargain hunting ahead of industry data on inventories, while gold prices eased a little bit from two-week highs hit in the previous session. Terrorist attacks in the French cities of Nice and Paris in the past two years led current president Francois Hollande to claim that France is "at war" with Islamic terrorists. And he was criticised on Twitter for being particularly quiet in the first part of the debate. After generations in which France has been dominated by the Socialists and conservatives, neither party seems capable of winning.

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Defense and security are coming into focus as Macron emerges as the clear front-runner in France's tumultuous 2017 presidential election campaign. "You've been talking for seven minutes and not said anything", said Front National leader Marine Le Pen.

"Stop immigration, and I will not make any excuses for that", she said, stressing that France's security situation is "explosive" and measures need to be taken "to discourage immigration". "I am not saying it is likely". Fans won't have minded, but any victorious presidential candidate needs to reach out beyond the comfort zone, and she does not seem able to.

It is not illegal for legislators to hire relatives but voters have taken a dim view of the Fillon payments and opposition to the practice has become an election issue. "I am proud of having been a banker".

Trying to guess who won a presidential debate is a mug's game. 'The trap you are falling into, Madame Le Pen, with your provocations is to divide society, ' he said. "That's already good going", he said.

"In democracies, it is not acceptable that politicians only honor the will of those who elected them when it suits", Hamon said in a statement. "You have a right to be Muslim".

One heated exchange was sparked when Le Pen referred to the frequent sightings of burkinis on French beaches, citing them as evidence of the "rise of radical Islam in our country". The two parties see eye-to-eye on a number of issues, including Russian Federation.