French election 2017: all candidates take part in live TV debate – as it happened | World news


In many ways, the range of candidates in this election, and the concerns and priorities they expressed during the debate, reflect the great fractures in French society. Arthaud and Poutou represent workers’ rights as one might expect from leaders of the Workers’ Struggle party and the New Anticapitalist party; the poor, the badly paid, those at the bottom of the social pile, the “dictatorship” of the rich and of capitalism.

At the other end of the scale, are former ministers Fillon and Macron, in their well-cut bespoke suits and ties who talk of finance, business, investment, efficiency, responsibility …

In the middle are leftwingers Mélenchon in his Mao jacket and Hamon, in off-the-peg suit and tie, who focus on workers but also ecological issues, democracy, working hours, social services …

There are traditionalists Dupont-Aignan, Asselineau, Cheminade, Lassalle: Eurosceptics, nationalists who have their pet subjects.

Then there’s Le Pen, who takes a bit from each – nationalist, protectionist, anti-Europe, anti-globalist, defence of workers (as long as they are French) – and adds her trademark dose of anti-Islam, anti-immigration, and economic and social patriotism.

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