Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen went head to head on Wednesday evening in an unrelentingly aggressive TV debate ahead of France’s second round vote on Sunday. Here are the FT’s highlights of the showdown:

  • The two contenders clashed on the euro, radical Islam, immigration and jobs
  • Macron came out on top with 63% of viewer approval, while a combative Le Pen trailed with 34%, according to a poll by Elabe
  • Take a look at the FT’s poll tracker
  • For further coverage of the French presidential elections click here


French President François Hollande has made an uncharacteristically audacious decision in appointing Manuel Valls, an economic reformer and Socialist party moderniser, as his new prime minister. Here are five things you need to know about the new premier: Read more

France’s Cour de Justice de la République, a special court that exists to investigate, prosecute and try cases of ministerial wrong-doing has decided to investigate Christine Lagarde, the newly-appointed managing director of the International Monetary Fund. She is accused of acting illegally when French finance minister in the case of Bernard Tapie, a businessman and friend of President Nicolas Sarkozy.

In 2007 Ms Lagarde set up an arbitration panel that later awarded €285m in damages (plus €100m in interest) from the state to Mr Tapie. Read more