Le Pen’s Father Says She ‘Lacked Stature’ in TV Debate

  • Jean-Marie Le Pen says outcome amounted to a tied match
  • Online references link Macron to ‘Dumbledore,’ ‘Harry Potter’

Candidates Clash as French Debate Turns Personal

Marine Le Pen’s father said she lacked stature in her television debate with rival presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron, describing the outcome of the confrontation as a tie.

“I found the first half hour pretty boring and probably incomprehensible for the big majority of viewers,” Jean-Marie Le Pen, founder of France’s far-right National Front party, told RTL radio on Thursday. “That’s perhaps good for Emmanuel Macron, but it wasn’t good for Marine Le Pen who lacked stature.”

“I still hope that my champion will score a clear victory. But if I was the referee, I would say the match was tied,” he added.

In the debate on Wednesday evening, Marine Le Pen called Macron the candidate of the capitalist elite, as she tried to close a gap of about 20 percentage points. Macron retorted that her attacks on state bodies meant she was unfit to lead the country.

Adelaide Zulfikarpasic, a pollster at BVA, said on Thursday that Macron was the candidate most named online with more than a million references over the past 24 hours, including during the debate, while Marine Le Pen was quoted more than 800,000 times.

Words associated with Macron were “surprising,” Zulfikarpasic wrote in an e-mailed note -- “Dumbledore” as well as “Harry Potter” and “die” were used frequently, echoing a tweet that poked fun at Marine Le Pen’s assault on him.

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