We did sit through most of the televised debate between the eleven presidential candidates, finally giving up about midnight. Contrary to what the Local says (see link below), it was Jean-Luc Melenchon who was judged most convincing in polls.
But the debate was dubbed as the chance for the six "little" candidates to outline their cases. These candidates, none of whom is likely to top 5% of the vote were split into three groups: two "workers" candidates with left wing ideas; three right of centre nominees; and a giant Pyrenean shepherd (who has been typically mocked for speaking slowly in a southern accent).
All the candidates were allowed about 20 minutes, generally in 2 minute sections, to give their policy in various areas (employment; security; economy). They did not, however, depart much from their base policies: Macron on the need for reform; Le Pen on withdrawing from the euro and closing the borders; Fillon re-iterating the centre right values of Les Republicains; Melenchon and Hamon wanting a return to state ownership style socialism; various positions on Europe, the euro, referenda and a desire for "French" values rather than "Anglo Saxon" ideas.
The left candidates concentrated their fire on Le Pen; the right on Macron and Fillon. There seemed to be little debate on environmental issues, though several speakers are known to have anti-nuclear policies.
Probably little effect on the outcome of the election and perhaps a little over-moderated to be good television. On verra.
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