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Live blog: French presidential election debate

French President Emmanuel Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen are set to face off Wednesday in a crucial TV debate ahead of the presidential election’s second-round vote on Sunday.

The televised debate is a mainstay of French election campaigns, with the two candidates who polled highest in the first round going head-to-head in a contest moderated by journalists.

While polls indicate the president has a strong lead ahead of Sunday’s decisive vote, the gap between the incumbent and his challenger is much narrower than in 2017, when they held a similar duel.

Back then, Macron crushed Le Pen in an episode that left deep scars on the far-right leader. While Le Pen has to turn the page on that, Macron will have to defend his track record at the Elysée, which is expected to come under intense scrutiny.

Follow our blow-by-blow coverage of the debate and analysis by POLITICO’s Paris team below.

FRANCE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION POLL OF POLLS

For more polling data from across Europe visit POLITICO Poll of Polls.

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