PARIS, April 5 (Xinhua) -- French favorite to win French 2017 presidential race, Emmanuel Macron, in a televised debate on Tuesday night, blasted far-rightist candidate Marine Le Pen's nationalist platform as an old lie that will lead to "an economic war."
"Europe, it allows to protect. What you are proposing is the decline of the French's purchasing power. What you are proposing is an economic war," Macron said.
"Nationalism is war. I know it. I come from a region that is full of graveyards," he added, referring to his native region of Somme, north France, a battle field in World World I.
Hitting back, Le Pen said "you shouldn't pretend to be something new when you are speaking like old fogy that are at least 50 years old."
"Sorry to tell you this, Madame Le Pen, but you are saying the same lies that we've heard from your father for forty years," Macron retorted.
"I have Europe at heart because I think it makes us stronger, but I do not have naive Europe... I am in favor of reform but with a constructive dialogue," added the centrist and pro-Europe contender.
Le Pen who pledged to quit the euro and restore local currency and internal borders had also been lashed out by conservative candidate Francois Fillon who said she lacked economic policy.
"Le Pen has an economic program with a lot of expenses and which is based on an exit from the European Union and the European currency. However, large majority of French people do not wish to leave the European currency, which means that there is no economic policy for Madame Le Pen," Fillon said.
In the second televised debate ahead of April first round, the lesser-known six candidates Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, Nathalie Arthaud, Philippe Poutou, Jacques Cheminade, Jean Lasalle and Francois Asselineau joined the top five contenders to defend their chances in the presidential contest which pollsters predict to be a two-horse race between La Pen and Macron.
A survey released on Tuesday showed Macron and Le Pen tied on 25 percent of voting intention in the April 23 election.
For the decisive round on May 7, pro-liberal Macron would comfortably beat the nationalism advocate by 61 percent to 39 percent, the survey says.