Live: French presidential candidates questioned over the war in Ukraine

French President Emmanuel Macron and his seven leading rivals in the upcoming presidential elections underwent a quiz on world affairs and the war in Ukraine on Monday evening in a special program hosted by France’s TF1 broadcaster.

8:50 p.m. Paris time: Campaign upended by war Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has pushed global affairs to the fore in the French presidential race, upending a campaign in which three of the five leading candidates have criticized the US-led transatlantic alliance.

The war has provided France’s main parties – whose candidates are struggling in the polls – a new opportunity to turn around some of their most radical opponents and accuse them of being close to Putin while provoking NATO.

>> Ukraine war puts France’s skeptical NATO presidential candidates in an awkward position

Criticisms centered on three of the presidential candidates – Marine Le Pen, her far-right rival Eric Zemmour, and controversial leftist Jean-Luc Mélenchon – who took part in the polls in second, third and fourth places respectively, often grouped together for “sovereign rhetoric” despite the presence of Disagreement over many issues.

The two leaders of the far right spoke fondly of the Russian leader’s unrelenting nationalist approach, and in a whisper even the yearning for a “French Putin.” Le Pen has previously mocked suggestions that Putin is a threat to Europe, saying that NATO has outlived its usefulness.

While Melenchon has no such closeness to the Kremlin strongman, he has in the past joined his opponents in downplaying Moscow’s threat even as he blamed NATO for stirring up trouble.

8:30 p.m. Paris time: Monday’s non-debate presidential debate is the first of three televised matches before the first round of elections on April 10, in which the pool of 12 presidential candidates will be reduced to just two.

TF1 had initially planned to host a traditional debate between the rival candidates, before seeking alternative format over Macron’s refusal to argue with his rivals and concerns over how to run a screaming match between the eleven others.

In the end, the incumbent agreed to a formula that the candidates would speak in turn, provided they didn’t cross — not even for a group photo.

For the sake of brevity, the special broadcaster chose to let go of the four struggling “junior” candidates at the back of the group, although some are running the ballot with the struggling Socialists’ candidate, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo.

As expected, the four excluded, including leftist Philippe Bhutto (tweet below), denounced a parody of democracy.

Depuis quelques jours on entendait parler d’une soirée électorale sur @ TF1 le 14 mars «avec 11 candidats». Scope (1): finalement il n’y aura pas 11 mais 8 invitation filters (2): on n’est pas parmi les 8Le débat démocratique c’est bien, mais c’est pas pour tout le monde.

– PhilippePoutou (@PhilippePoutou) March 11, 2022

Credit: Source link

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.