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RN leader accused8k8 withdrawal of avoiding key debate

中国航天员已完成16次出舱活动 | 8k8 withdrawal | Updated: 2024-07-13 09:03:53

French far-right Rassemblement National (RN) party President and lead MEP Jordan Bardella looks on at a polling station during the first round of parliamentary elections in Garches, suburb of Paris, on June 30, 2024. [Photo/Agencies]

French Green party leader Marine Tondelier has challenged far-right National Rally leader Jordan Bardella to a televised debate before Sunday's parliamentary election after accusing him of preferring to debate only with men.

Tondelier has become a prominent figure for the New Popular Front left alliance, which is emerging as an alternative to the National Rally, or RN, in numerous constituencies during the final runoff, reported The Guardian newspaper.

Following RN's strong performance in the initial round of the snap parliamentary elections on Sunday, Bardella, the 28-year-old who seeks to be prime minister should his party secure a parliamentary majority, said he wanted a televised debate this week with seasoned leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon.

Bardella penned a letter to the French people on Monday branding the left as "agents of chaos", deeming them a grave "existential threat" to the nation, and urging Melenchon to participate in a debate. Melenchon, who founded the left's La France Insoumise party, has declined to debate, proposing other party candidates instead.

Left-wing allies have disputed Melenchon's relevance in the race for prime minister. Tondelier has criticized Bardella on social media, highlighting his insistence on debating Melenchon, and prompting the Greens to question Bardella's motives.

She said: "Ah OK, so it's really official, Bardella only wants to debate men."

Women on the left, led by Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, the former Socialist women's minister, have emphasized the absence of female representation in prior debates and called for Tondelier's inclusion in an upcoming televised debate.

Since RN's first-round results in parliamentary elections, where the right-wing party and its allies captured one-third of the votes, political adversaries, including French President Emmanuel Macron's centrists and the left-wing coalition, have quickly mobilized to counter the right's momentum, seeking to prevent it from achieving an absolute majority and assuming control of the government.

RN would dominate Parliament if it were to reach the 289-seat threshold for an absolute majority. French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal, who, depending on the result, may be forced to resign, emphasized the urgency by stating the far-right is at the "gates of power" and insisting that the RN should not receive a "single vote "in the election.

Macron's camp is collaborating with the left-wing alliance, advocating for tactical voting and urging third-place candidates from Sunday's vote to withdraw, aiming to form a united front against the far right, reported the Agence France-Press.

Macron announced plans for a "broad" democratic coalition against the far-right and called a Cabinet meeting to plan further strategies.

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