French contenders stake out economic positions in debate

05 April, 2017, 01:40 | Author: Lorena Waters
  • Leftist Melenchon just behind Fillon as Macron still leads French polls

All 11 candidates are due to face each other in a televised debate on Tuesday evening.

Former prime minister Francois Fillon, under pressure after being charged with misuse of public funds, said France's grinding 10 percent unemployment and massive debt combined to create an "explosive situation".

More encouragingly for Le Pen, 82 percent of those stating an intention to vote for her said they were certain of their choice, with Macron's number at 61 percent.

It also is, for outsiders like right-winger Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, who has around 4-5 percentage points in opinion polls, and for five candidates who poll between 0 and 1 percent, a rare chance to step into the spotlight.

Debate, which will range over the key issues of unemployment and the economy, and immigration and security, could be heated, French media have suggested.

Among those planning to vote for Le Pen, 27 percent said Macron would be their fallback option, Ifop's latest election survey showed, even though Macron wants to strengthen the euro and Le Pen aims to pull France out of it.

The race for the Elysee has been marked by major twists and turns that have seen the eclipse of some big names and the emergence of scandals that have troubled the campaigns of some of the main players.

Jay Z Supports De Blasio's Decision To Close Rikers Island
Also, de Blasio recently told reporters that Governor Andrew Cuomo should mind his own business regarding the future of Rikers. It now has ten jail facilities with a population of about 9,500, of which 2,500 of those are long-term inmates.

Mr Fillon is predicted to be eliminated from the first round with the remaining candidates, with just 17.5 per cent of support according to the poll.

On November 8 of past year, hours before votes were cast in the U.S. presidential election, Reuters ran the headline "Clinton has 90 percent chance of winning".

Voter certainty rose sharply compared with the previous survey, with 64 per ent of those surveyed sure of their decision - an increase of five points.

The comment appeared to be a swipe at Le Pen's efforts to detoxify the party her father Jean-Marie Le Pen founded and make it more palatable to mainstream voters.

In a separate action involving the National Front, French judicial police in February questioned her bodyguard and chief of staff in relation to a probe into alleged misuse of European Union funds to pat parliamentary assistants.

One result of her surge in popularity is that it has outstripped support for one of her main ideas: ditching the euro and quitting the European Union, which remains a fringe position in France even as Le Pen has won greater acceptance in the mainstream.

A judicial source said the probe had been opened after a newspaper report that one of her top party aides was suspected of being paid for fake work. Instead, Socialist Benoit Hamon is the second favorite for 27 percent of Macron supporters, Melenchon 20 percent, and Fillon 19 percent, showing the heterogeneous nature of his program and support.

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