“I want to convince women and men with diverse political points of view,” Macron said.
Both candidates have carefully prepared for the highly scrutinized debate, expected to last more than two hours.
Macron, a pro-European centrist, emerged ahead from the April 10 first round and is leading in opinion polls. But Le Pen, an anti-immigration nationalist who has gained ground this year by tapping anger over inflation, has significantly narrowed the gap in public support compared to the last presidential election five years ago, when she lost with 34% of the vote to Macron’s 66%.
In 2017, a similar debate struck a decisive blow to her campaign.
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