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French election debate: blood on the carpet

Sensing that things might get out of hand, the journalists chairing the debate stressed the need for “Republican courtesy.” That injunction was blown apart

By Jim Wolfreys  

Ten of eleven candidates for the upcoming presidential election (L-R) candidate for the far-left coalition La France insoumise Jean-Luc Melenchon, candidate for the right-wing Les Republicains (LR) party Francois Fillon, independent candidate Jean Lassalle, candidate for the far-left Lutte Ouvriere (LO) party Nathalie Arthaud, candidate for the far-right Front National (FN) party Marine Le Pen, candidate for the left-wing French Socialist (PS) party Benoit Hamon, candidate for Solidarite et Progres (Solidarity and Progress) party Jacques Cheminade, candidate for the right-wing Debout la France (DLF) party Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, candidate for the En Marche! movement Emmanuel Macron and candidate for the Popular Republican Union (UPR) party Francois Asselineau pose for a family picture prior to a debate organised by French private TV channels BFM TV and CNews, with all eleven candidates, in La Plaine-Saint-Denis, near Paris, France on April 4, 2017. Candidate for far-left New Anticapitalist Party (NPA) Philippe Poutou refused to take part in the family picture. ©Pool/ABACA/ABACA/PA Images

The French presidential election debate held on 4th April was unprecedented: never before have all candidates for the post shared a platform. The five frontrunners were joined by two Trotskyists and four maverick right-wingers, including veteran conspiracy theorist Jacques Cheminade, whose programme includes plans to industrialise the moon.

The previous debate of this extraordinary campaign, in March, involved only the five…

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