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France

French press review 4 May 2017

media

Last night's televised debate between presidential candidates Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen dominates this morning's front and inside pages in France.

Le Monde says it was "brutal".

Le Figaro compares it to a knife fight with, slightly mixing its metaphors, the use of boxing gloves.

Libération found it aggressive and insulting.

La Croix calls it a punch-up. La Croix is, I remind you, a Catholic newspaper.

The business daily La Tribune simply notes that the evening was marked by high tension.

Financial paper Les Echos says the clash was exceptionally brawny.

Communist daily L'Humanité ignores it comlpletely, though that has more to do with the communist paper's early printing deadline than anything else.

We are, of course, talking about last night's televised debate involving the centrist presidential candidate, Emmanuel Macron, and the far-right challenger, Marine Le Pen of the National Front (FN).

A violent clash unworthy of previous debates

La Croix looks back over the past 40 years of this debate, the classic head-to-head before the second round, source of moments of drama and unintended comedy. 

It reminds us that there was no debate in 2002, Jacques Chirac refusing to meet the FN's then leader, Jean-Marie Le Pen, on the grounds that the mainstream rightwinger was not prepared to contribute to the normalisation of hatred and intolerance.

To read our French presidential election 2017 coverage click here

Last night's clash, according to Le Figaro, was a confrontation between one indignant candidate and one proposing solutions. Recognising, at the same time, that the solutions offered by Macron will not be to everyone's liking.

Le Figaro's readers' poll, with 51,000 votes a few minutes ago, was giving the advantage to Macron, 64 percent finding him most convincing, compared to 36 percent for Le Pen.

And there's more where that came from!

Speaking of opinion polls, here's the first one I've come across predicting the outcome of the June parliamentary election here in France: according to Les Echos, Emmanuel Macron's En marche ! party will win between 249 and 286 seats, giving them a broad advantage over the traditional right with between 200 and 210 seats.

The National Front is unlikely to do better than 15 or 25 seats, with the Socialists and the radical left being flattened. The poll gives the traditional left between 28 and 43 seats, with the hard left winning six or maybe eight.

US Republicans hope to vote the end of Obamacare

Elsewhere in the world, there's to be vote later today in the US House of Representatives which should see the end of "Obamacare", the basic health insurance for all which was one of the key achievements of the last president.

The Republicans have a majority in the house and party leaders calculate that they have, this time, sufficient support from their own moderates to ensure that the bill will pass.

A previous Republican attempt to kill off Obamacare, in March, failed because of divisions involving party moderates, who found the proposals too harsh, and hard-right Republicans who felt that too much of Barack Obama's original legislation had been left intact.

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