- Title: FRANCE: Millions of voters watch as sparks fly in fierce Sarkozy, Royal TV debate
- Date: 3rd May 2007
- Summary: CROWD WATCHING THE DEBATE ON GIANT SCREEN BARMAN AND CLIENT WITH GIANT SCREEN VARIOUS OF PEOPLE WATCHING DEBATE BIG SCREENS DURING DEBATE AND PEOPLE WATCHING SEGOLENE ROYAL SPOKESMAN ARNAUD MONTEBOURG AND LEFT MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT CHRISTIANE TAUBIRA WATCHING DEBATE BIG SCREEN WITH NICOLAS SARKOZY PEOPLE CLAPPING PEOPLE APPLAUDING AT THE END OF THE DEBATE (SOUNDBITE) (French) SPOKESMAN FOR SEGOLENE ROYAL ARNAUD MONTEBOURG SAYING: " She scored points on democracy. She showed how creative she was on the issue of reforms. She scored points on education. She scored points on housing. She pointed out the emptiness if not to say the deception of some of the right wing candidate's proposals. She scored points on pensions, on the 35-hour week, with her intelligent and reasonable pragmatic position. She scored points on all subjects." MONTEBOURG TALKING TO JOURNALISTS (SOUNDBITE) (French) BATISTE PECRIAUX, SOCIALIST SUPPORTER, SAYING: "She reminded people that she was able to face a political person of a certain category. She deconstructed Nicolas Sarkozy' arguments and proved him wrong. I think that if the French, at the moment of voting, remember what she said tonight, I think we will all be at Bastille next Sunday." PEOPLE TALKING AT BAR
- Embargoed: 18th May 2007 13:00
- Location: France
- Country: France
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVABAKN2UZ798DOW64EGMKPGF93D
- Story Text: Millions of voters watch on giant screens a fierce television debate between presidential contenders Nicolas Sarkozy and Segolene Royal.
Socialist presidential candidate Segolene Royal and her Conservative rival Nicolas Sarkozy exchanged verbal jabs during an ill-tempered televised debate on Wednesday (May 2) that could determine the winner of Sunday's run off election.
Trailing in the opinion polls, Royal came out fighting from the start of the marathon clash, immediately challenging Sarkozy over the record of the outgoing rightist government, in which he served as both interior minister and finance minister.
"No Mr Sarkozy not everything is possible in political life. Not everything is possible. This discourse, this gap between the discourse and the acts, especially when it's about handicapped children, is not acceptable, and I'm very angry, and the parents and families who are hearing you..."
"Calm down, don't point at me with your finger like that," Sarkozy said during one of the worst exchanges between the two.
"No, I won't calm down," Royal fired back during a series of back and forth often interrupting Sarkozy during quickfire exchanges on a range of issues.
Regularly knocked onto the defensive by the combative attacks of Royal, Sarkozy at one point accused his rival of losing her temper during a row over schools for the disabled.
"I never lose my cool, I have a lot of cool," she replied.
"Well if you say so but you just lost it," said Sarkozy.
Both candidates addressed Europe and immigration saying each would do more to benefit France.
"With the effort needed for the countries situated in the far east of Europe, for them to succeed in their economic development as Spain and Portugal did, we have to achieve the same thing with eastern European countries so that the quality of life in Europe collectively pull the European countries to the top, then I think that we'll be able to consult the French again and make sure that Europe succeeds. A strong Europe, a strong France, Europe that needs France and a France that needs Europe," said Royal.
"There are 450 million young Africans under the age of seventeen, they can't hope to immigrate to Europe. The question of the development of Africa is a major one, that I will tackle with the Mediterranean union, and thirdly, it goes with the politics of a chosen immigration in France, with the reform of the family gathering, and I won't allow someone to make their family come here if he doesn't prove that he has a home, because when you welcome your family when you don't have a home is not possible, if he doesn't have an income through working and not through social benefits, because what's the point in welcoming his family if you don't have the resources for it, and I wish that the members of the arriving family learn French before arriving to France," said Sarkozy.
Bars across Paris were packed with French voters watching the two candidates clash on live television over the main issues facing France ahead of the Sunday run-off.
The heated debate between the two candidates was shown on giant screens across the country with crowds watching the candidates sparring to show off their superior knowledge over the challenges facing the country.
Socialist spokesman Arnaud Montebourg said he saw it as a clear win for Royal.
" She scored points on democracy. She showed how creative she was on the issue of reforms. She scored points on education. She scored points on housing. She pointed out the emptiness if not to say the deception of some of the right wing candidate's proposals. She scored points on pensions, on the 35-hour week, with her intelligent and reasonable pragmatic position. She scored points on all subjects," said Montebourg.
"She reminded people that she was able to face a political person of a certain category. She deconstructed Nicolas Sarkozy' arguments and proved him wrong. I think that if the French, at the moment of voting, remember what she said tonight, I think we will all be at Bastille next Sunday," said another supporter Batiste Pecriaux.
The debate was marked by repeated attempts to gain the upper hand in an increasingly ill-tempered confrontation ahead of the decisive run-off.
Sarkozy topped the first round election on April 22 with 31.2 percent of the ballot while Royal came second with 25.9 percent. They have since battled to win the backing of centrist voters who will hold the key on the May 6 run off.
For Royal, the debate represented a last chance to overhaul the frontrunner Sarkozy, who has weathered constant opposition accusations that he is overly aggressive.
The first and only debate in the election race was shown live on two main television channels and was expected to be watched by nearly half of France's 44.5 million voters.
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