Europe

French election: 5 top candidates to hold first debate

  • Socialist candidate for the presidential election Benoit Hamon waves to supporters after his speech during a meeting in Paris, Sunday, March 19, 2017. Hamon held a boisterous rally Sunday that packed out an indoor sports and concert arena in Paris with at least 20,000 people. Since he won the Socialist primary in January, the 49-year-old former minister has struggled to carve out a space for himself in the campaign and failed to unite the party behind him. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu)

    Socialist candidate for the presidential election Benoit Hamon waves to supporters after his speech during a meeting in Paris, Sunday, March 19, 2017. Hamon held a boisterous rally Sunday that packed out an indoor sports and concert arena in Paris with at least 20,000 people. Since he won the Socialist primary in January, the 49-year-old former minister has struggled to carve out a space for himself in the campaign and failed to unite the party behind him. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu)  (The Associated Press)

  • Far-left presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melencho, gestures as he speaks during a gathering in Paris, Saturday, March 18, 2017. Far-left French presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon gathered tens of thousands of supporters in Paris at a rally Saturday calling for deep reforms in the French constitution. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

    Far-left presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melencho, gestures as he speaks during a gathering in Paris, Saturday, March 18, 2017. Far-left French presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon gathered tens of thousands of supporters in Paris at a rally Saturday calling for deep reforms in the French constitution. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)  (The Associated Press)

  • From left to right, Conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon, Independent centrist presidential candidate for the presidential election Emmanuel Macron, Far-left presidential candidate for the presidential election Jean-Luc Melenchon, Far-right presidential candidate for the presidential election Marine Le Pen and Socialist candidate for the presidential election Benoit Hamon pose for a group photo prior to a television debate at French TV station TF1 in Aubervilliers, outside Paris, France, Monday, March 20, 2017. The five leading candidates for France's presidential election are holding their first debate Monday, with centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen leading polls and jobs and security among voters' top concerns. (Patrick Kovarik/Pool Photo via AP)

    From left to right, Conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon, Independent centrist presidential candidate for the presidential election Emmanuel Macron, Far-left presidential candidate for the presidential election Jean-Luc Melenchon, Far-right presidential candidate for the presidential election Marine Le Pen and Socialist candidate for the presidential election Benoit Hamon pose for a group photo prior to a television debate at French TV station TF1 in Aubervilliers, outside Paris, France, Monday, March 20, 2017. The five leading candidates for France's presidential election are holding their first debate Monday, with centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen leading polls and jobs and security among voters' top concerns. (Patrick Kovarik/Pool Photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

The five leading candidates for France's presidential election are holding their first debate Monday, with centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen leading polls, and jobs and security among voters' top concerns.

The televised evening debate comes after France was shaken by a weekend attack on soldiers at Paris' Orly airport, a reminder of security challenges the new president will face.

The list of 11 candidates was finalized Saturday. The first-round vote is set for April 23; the top two candidates go to a runoff May 7.

Macron and Le Pen will be joined at the debate by conservative Francois Fillon, Socialist Benoit Hamon and far-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon. The five are expected to be the largest vote-getters in the first round.