The Debate: France 'going savage', says Le Pen
Indy

France's two presidential candidates have gone head to head to fight for the nation's trust.

Over the course of a two hour and 45 minute televised debate, Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen clashed on everything from Russia to climate change to the cost of living crisis as France prepares to go to the second round of votes this Sunday.

Following the debate, a poll of voters from French broadcaster BFMTV and newspaper L'Express suggested Macron had come out the winner with 59 per cent of viewers more convinced by Macron.

But what did the two politicians say?

Here's a look at the highlights:

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Le Pen: "I want to give the French their money back." 1/10

The far-right candidate said she would cut taxes including by enacting no income tax for under-30s. After Macron said these policies were unworkable and said capping prices was more effective than cutting taxes, she clapped back.

Macron: "You depend on the Russian power, you depend on Mr. Putin." 9/10

Macron slammed Le Pen for taking a loan from Russia in 2017 and for supporting the country's annexation of Crimea in 2014. "When you speak to Russia you are speaking to your banker." he said.

Le Pen said she had to as she couldn't source finances from France. "I am a completely free and independent woman," she replied.

Clips of the exchange went viral on social media with people praising Macron for his epic put-down.

Macron: "You are selling a lie". 8/10

Le Pen previously backed France leaving the EU but now says she wants to change it from within. But Macron didn't seem that thrilled about her ideas and expressed skepticism about whether her newfound desire to stay in the EU was genuine.

"You cannot change the rules of a club of 27 members all by yourself, just because you are Marine Le Pen. Your project is a project that would shrink France,” he added.

Le Pen: "Absolutely intolerable". 3/10

Macron has said France needs to raise the pension age from 62 to 65 over nine years, while Le Pen wants to keep it at 62 and clearly feels pretty strongly about it.

Macron: "You are a climate sceptic, that's pretty obvious." 7/10

Macron slammed Le Pen for not supporting wind turbines. She is against renewables and favours nuclear power to replace fossil fuels.

Le Pen replied by calling Macron a "climate hypocrite".

Le Pen: “Uncontrolled immigration is one of the main contributory causes of crime in this country”. 0/10

Le Pen wants a referendum on immigration in France that would also propose cancelling automatic citizenship rights for children of non-nationals born in France, changing the asylum process and the naturalisation rules. Macron said these plans were not "constitutional".

Macron: “You will incite a civil war." 8/10

Le Pen wants to ban the hijab in public spaces and called it “a uniform imposed by Islamists”. Macron disagreed and said doing so would be contrary to France’s constitution: “You will incite a civil war if you ban the veil,” he said. “It makes no sense. It is confusing all the problems; confusing Islam with Islamism.”

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