French Parties Hold Debate amid Macron’s Civil War Warning

France’s three main political camps were set to go head-to-head Tuesday in a key TV debate as voters prepared for the most polarising election in decades and President Emmanuel Macron warned of “civil war”.

The rhetoric has reached fever pitch ahead of Sunday’s first round of voting in the parliamentary elections, with the far-right National Rally polling in first place.

Tuesday night’s debate will pit Prime Minister Gabriel Attal of Macron’s centrist Renaissance party against RN president Jordan Bardella and Manuel Bompard of France Unbowed, representing a left-wing alliance that is also besting Macron’s side in the polls.

At just 28, Bardella could become the first far-right prime minister in France’s modern history, though he has said he will only take the job if the RN wins an absolute majority in parliament.

Regardless of the result, Macron has vowed to stay on as president until the end of his second term in 2027.

He has been criticised from all sides for his decision to call the snap election after his party received a drubbing in a European vote earlier this month.

An Ifop poll has the RN with 36 per cent support, the left-wing New Popular Front with 29.5 per cent and Macron’s camp with 20.5 per cent, leading the unpopular president’s allies to beg him to step back from the campaign.

But Macron weighed in on Monday evening to warn that the programmes of the two “extremes” could spark a “civil war”, accusing both the RN and France Unbowed of sowing tensions and division.

Leaders of both left and right condemned his remarks.

RN leader Marine Le Pen said Macron’s argument was “weak” and showed “he thinks he’s lost this election”.

Head of the centre-left Socialists in the Senate, Patrick Kanner, said his remarks showed France is “faced with someone who no longer controls anything.”

Some suggested that Tuesday’s TV debate was unlikely to change the balance between the three blocs.

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Comfort Samuel

I work with TV360 Nigeria, as a broadcast journalist, producer and reporter. I'm so passionate on what I do.

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