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Campaign Clash

  • May 4th, 2007
  • Posted by 7thmin

tv-clash.jpgThe candidates in France’s Presidential election debated the issues for nearly two and a half hours, though signs are the late contest may not make any difference to the outcome.

The verdict of French voters appeared to be resolute after Wednesday’s (2.5.07) national television debate, on two networks, between the conservative (UMP party) Nicolas Sarkhozy, and the Socialist party’s Segolene Royal:

Supporters of Mr Sarkhozy believed he had performed the best; supporters of Ms Royal thought she had performed the best.

On a survey of comments in general media the day after, the socialist side may have had a better claim to victory in the battle.

Mr Sarkhozy, known for strong words, had been counselled to keep quiet. In the body language he looked hunched and studious, quoting figures. Ms Royal sat upright and chided him, debunking talk that she lacked command of detail in the issues.

(The incident brought to mind similar, one-hour television debates in Australia in 1996; one candidate already unpopular over some fairly abusive performances had to show restraint; the other could be as rude as he liked).

Notwithstanding the battle on television, the victory in France still looked to be within the grasp of Mr Sarkhozy.

Some French media claimed to have polls saying he had actually dominated the debate; two national opinion polls published on the day after (3.5.07) showed him retaining a lead in the area of six percentage points.

Voting is on Sunday, 6.5.07.