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had “put forward a vision for the important role that France plays in Europe and around the world”.
The rivals were at each other’s throats again after the debate, with Le Pen defending the aggressive tone of the debate by arguing that she had tried to “lift the veil... on who Mister Macron is” and he again accused her of lying constantly.
“He presents himself as a new man who emerged from nowhere... when in fact, he emerged from (President) Francois Hollande’s government,” Le Pen said in a TV interview. Macron told France Inter radio: “You can’t choke off all of the lies but you can kill off some of them.”
He filed a legal complaint after Le Pen implied during the debate that he had an “offshore account in the Bahamas”.
“We will not hesitate to prosecute for defamation anyone who repeats this false information,” an aide to Macron said.
The aggressive and often unruly debate shocked many observers.
“It is misleading to call that fist fight a debate,” an editorial in the right-leaning Figaro newspaper said. Le Monde said it had been “brutal” and “violent from start to finish”.
Former Socialist prime minister Manuel Valls, who is backing Macron, said Le Pen “showed her true face” in the debate and “it’s worrying”.
The debate was probably Le Pen’s last chance to change the dynamics of the race ahead of the final weekend of a long and unpredictable campaign.
Le Pen tried to portray Macron as being soft on Islamic fundamentalism, playing to the concerns of many of her supporters.
Many supporters of candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon, who came fourth in the first round, have said they will not vote on Sunday, comparing the final round as a choice between “the plague and cholera”. AFP
You can’t choke off all of the lies but you can kill off some of them.