French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron sparred with far-right rival leader Marine Le Pen in Monday's (March 20) presidential debate. A snap poll after the debate had centrist Macron performing the best. Jacob Greaves reports.
No knock out blows, but centrist Emmanuel Macron might have landed the biggest hits in France's presidential debate. The former economy minister faring best in a snap opinion poll taken shortly after. On the back of that, one junior minister breaking ranks to come out in support of his campaign. Macron's performance Monday (March 20) might prove a turning point. Over the three and a half hours the five presidential candidates clashed. The independent and his main rival, far-right leader Marine Le-Pen holding some of the more feisty exchanges. All eyes were on whether the young and inexperienced Macron could hold his own. Firebrand leftist Jean Luc Melenchon also had a good night according to a snap survey by pollsters. Former frontrunner Francois Fillon didn't mount a major comeback. The candidate desperately in need of a bounce, amidst a campaign plagued by scandal. Two more debates will follow before the first round of voting in late April. Only two candidates will go through with Macron currently tipped to easily beat Le Pen. But their standings are far from set in stone. 40 percent of French voters reportedly still don't know who to back.