Macron judged ‘most convincing’ in TV debate with Le Pen

The first viewer polls are in, and incumbent Emmanuel Macron was judged the most convincing candidate in Wednesday night's nearly three-hour TV debate.

Macron judged 'most convincing' in TV debate with Le Pen
Emmanuel Macron during the TV debate with Marine Le Pen. Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP)

The head-to-head debate between the two candidates in the second round of the French presidential debate was screened live to the nation and, as is tradition, most media organisations ran their own snap polls on who ‘won’.

An Elabe poll for TV station BFM and newspaper L’Express found that 59 percent of viewers said that Macron was more convincing during the debate.

Le Pen was judged most convincing by 39 percent of viewers, while two percent did not give an opinion.

Commentators posting on social media judged that Macron had the better grasp of detail and the technicalities of his policy, but at times appeared arrogant and patronising.

Le Pen made it a point to show empathy for the struggles of ordinary French people, but at times appeared muddled and confused and confused about her policies.

Going into the debate Macron was leading the polls with an average lead of 56 percent to 44 percent, with three days to go until the second round of voting on Sunday, April 24th.  

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Prosecutors: No new rape inquiry for France’s disabilities minister

France's disabilities minister will not face a new inquiry "as things stand" over a rape allegation that surfaced just after his nomination by President Emmanuel Macron last week, prosecutors have said, citing the anonymity of the alleged victim.

Prosecutors: No new rape inquiry for France's disabilities minister

Damien Abad has faced growing pressure to resign after the news website Mediapart reported the assault claims by two women dating from over a decade ago, which he has denied.

One of the women, identified only by her first name, Margaux, filed a rape complaint in 2017 that was later dismissed by prosecutors.

The other woman, known only as Chloe, told Mediapart that in 2010 she had blacked out after accepting a glass of champagne from Abad at a bar in Paris, and woke up in her underwear in pain with him in a hotel room. She believes she may have been drugged.

She did not file an official complaint, but the Paris prosecutors’ office said it was looking into the case after being informed by the Observatory of Sexist and Sexual Violence in Politics, a group formed by members of France’s MeToo movement.

“As things stand, the Paris prosecutors’ office is not following up on the letter” from the observatory, it said, citing “the inability to identify the victim of the alleged acts and therefore the impossibility of proceeding to a hearing.”

In cases of sexual assault against adults, Paris prosecutors can open an inquiry only if an official complaint is made, meaning the victim must give their identity.

Abad has rejected the calls to resign in order to ensure the new government’s “exemplarity,” saying that he is innocent and that his own condition of arthrogryposis, which limits the movement of his joints, means sexual relations can occur only with the help of a partner.

The appointment of Abad as minister for solidarities and people with disabilities in a reshuffle last Friday was seen as a major coup for Macron, as the 42-year-old had defected from the right-wing opposition.

The new prime minister, Elisabeth Borne, said she was unaware of the allegations before Abad’s nomination, but insisted that “If there is new information, if a new complaint is filed, we will draw all the consequences.”

The claims could loom large over parliamentary elections next month, when Macron is hoping to secure a solid majority for his reformist agenda. Abad will be standing for re-election in the Ain department north of Lyon.