France elections 2022: Lea Salame, the Lebanon-born journalist who moderated the Macron, Le Pen debate
A Lebanon-born French journalist took centre stage on Wednesday when she moderated France’s televised presidential debate between candidates Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen.
Lea Salame, who is of Lebanese and Armenian heritage, co-moderated the debate watched by more than 15 million people alongside fellow journalist Gilles Bouleau.
Incumbent president Macron went head-to-head with far-right candidate Le Pen, the two clashing over the cost of living, immigration, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Beirut-born Salame is the daughter of Ghassan Salame, a diplomat and former Lebanese culture minister. Her family moved to France when she was five years old, leaving Lebanon during the civil war.
She attended two of France's most prestigious universities before embarking on her journalism career, specialising in politics.
Salame has worked at several French television channels, including France 24, i>Tele, and France 2.
Known for her no-nonsense questioning style, she went viral on social media in 2016 for cutting off then-President Francois Hollande’s mid-sentence, when he claimed France had given refugees the same welcome that Germany had.
"Is this a joke?", she asked him live on air.