“France will be led by a woman, either me or Angela Merkel,” Marine Le Pen said last night as she clashed with the pro-EU candidate Emmanuel Macron in the final debate ahead of Sunday’s presidential run-off. Le Pen’s statement points to the long shadow of the German Chancellor that looms large over the establishment candidate Macron.

Merkel, hoping to boost Macron’s chances, had endorsed him last week, praising his “consistently pro-European policy.” “I would be very pleased if Emmanuel Macron were to win, because he stands for consistently pro-European policy,” Merkel said in an interview last week, claiming that he will be a “strong president for France” and “his victory would be a good sign for the political center, whose strength we would like to maintain here in Germany, as well.”

France 24 reported the heated exchange of the final presidential debate:

National Front candidate Marine Le Pen came out swinging in her opening remarks, calling Macron “the candidate of wild globalisation, Uber-isation, precariousness, social brutality, the war of all against all”. From the start, she tarred the centrist former economy minister as an heir-in-waiting to unpopular outgoing Socialist President François Hollande. (…)

“In any case, France will be led by a woman: me or Madame Merkel,” she said in reference to Germany’s conservative chancellor. She dubbed Macron “indulgent with Islamist fundamentalists”.

Merkel understands fully well what a Le Pen Presidency would mean to the European Union and her September re-election bid. Le Pen does not need a successful ‘Frexit’ vote to put an end to the European Union. The Franco-German project will cease to exist the day France elects an anti-EU President.

Addressing some 20 million French viewers, Le Pen repeated her campaign message: “I am the candidate of the people, who protects our jobs, our security, from external competition and from the rise of Islamic fundamentalism.”

Mainstream media is rallying behind Macron and trashing Le Pan in its usual fashion. “[T]here was little substance to her attacks, and over and again Emmanuel Macron was able to expose the weaknesses in her arguments,” BBC reported, calling Macron the “clear favourite in Sunday’s vote.”

The New York Times painted a doomsday scenario if the Nationalist candidate were to win. “French economists, political analysts and think tanks are virtually united in predicting a crisis for France if Ms. Le Pen is elected,” NYT wrote. Further describing Le Pan’s opposition to EU’s open borders policy as “her stigmatization of immigrants” that “would exacerbate social tensions in already edgy suburbs.”

With just days to go until the run-off, most polls show Macron with a comfortable 20-points lead over Le Pen. But these polls also show high numbers of undecided voters, raising the chances of a hidden Le Pen vote. In addition to that Le Pen holds the momentum going into the polls. She is seen closing the gap, gaining up to 4 percentage points last week.

The liberal media, EU establishment, and even the German Chancellor might have thrown their collective political weight behind all-but-coroneted Macron, but the ordinary French voter still has a choice to make. As Merkel correctly reads, the future of Europe depends on the Sunday’s outcome.

Video: “I want to organize a referendum to leave the EU in September,” Le Pen:

[Cover image courtesy LCI,  YouTube]