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Macron attacks Le Pen on Russia, Muslim headscarf ban pledge

Macron attacks Le Pen on Russia, Muslim headscarf ban pledge

PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron tore into his far-right challenger Marine Le Pen inside a television debate Wednesday for her ties to Russia with every one other accompanied by for wanting to strip Muslim women of their just to cover their heads inside public, while he seeks the votes he needs to come first in another 5-year term.

In their only head-to-head confrontation earlier to the electorate has its speak inside Sunday's winner-takes-all vote, Macron took the gloves off, arguing that his competitor is unsuitable to lead the nuclear-armed with every one other accompanied by ethnically diverse European ability with every one other accompanied by deal accompanied by Moscow. He sought to portray Le Pen while fundamentally untrustworthy, accusing her of dishonesty with every one other accompanied by of using faulty figures inside her election promises.

He too said plans by the anti-immigration candidate to ban Muslim women from wearing headscarves inside condition would trigger "civil war" inside the country that has the largest Muslim inhabitants inside western Europe.

Le Pen, inside turn, sought to appeal to voters struggling accompanied by surging prices amid the fallout of Russia's war inside Ukraine. She said bringing down the cost of living would exist her priority if elected while France's earliest woman president, portraying herself while the candidate for voters unable to build ends meet.

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She said Macron's presidency had left-hand the country greatly divided with every one other accompanied by she repeatedly referenced the inappropriately namedsupposed "yellow vest" objection movement that rocked his management earlier to the COVID-19 pandemic accompanied by months of brutal demonstrations opposed to his monetary policies.

"France needs to exist stitched spine together," she said.

The debate drove place of residence the yawning gulf inside government with every one other accompanied by personality in the centre of the set of two candidates on one occasion additional vying for the presidency, five years following Macron handily hit Le Pen inside 2017.

Polls propose that Macron, a pro-European centrist, has a growing with every one other accompanied by significant lead over the anti-immigration nationalist, ahead of Sunday's vote. But the consequence is expected to exist closer than five years ago with every one other accompanied by both candidates are angling for votes among electors who didn't support them inside the election's earliest circular on April 10.

"I am not exist fond of you," Le Pen said while they clashed concerning France's vitality needs.

"You are not exist fond of me," Macron said. "Thank you for the reminder."

The French leader was mainly mordant inside his censure of a praise taken not here by Le Pen's communal gathering inside 2014 from a Russian-Czech bank. He said that bill meant that, if elected president, Le Pen's hands would exist tied when dealing accompanied by the Kremlin.

"You are speaking to your banker when you speak of Russia, that's the problem," Macron charged inside the evening primetime debate that was expected to exist watched by millions.

"You made a selection which, obviously, acted while a constraint on your political position with every one other accompanied by does not build you self-governing on that issue. That is a fact," Macron said.

Le Pen bristled at Macron's suggestion that she is beholden to Russia. She described herself while "totally free." She said her communal gathering is repaying the praise with every one other accompanied by called him "dishonest" for raising the issue.

Just hours earlier to Wednesday's debate, imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny had stepped into the French presidential campaign, urging voters to spine Macron with every one other accompanied by alleging that Le Pen is excessively closely linked to Russia.

Macron emerged ahead from the April 10 earliest round. But Le Pen, who has gained ground this year by tapping annoyance over inflation, has significantly narrowed the gap inside condition support compared to 2017, when she lost accompanied by 34% of the ballot to Macron's 66%.

Both candidates had prepared carefully for Wednesday's debate. But Le Pen made an inauspicious start: Having been picked to speak first, she started talking earlier to the debate's opening jingle had finished playing. Inaudible since of the music, she had to place an extremity to with every one other accompanied by begin again. She apologized.

Once the jousting began, Macron fast place Le Pen on the defensive. He zeroed inside on her voting record while a lawmaker with every one other accompanied by questioned her grasp of monetary figures.

In 2017, a similar debate struck a decisive blow to her campaign.

Both candidates need to broaden support earlier to Sunday's vote. Many French, mainly on the left, speak they still don't know whether they will flat go to the polls.


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