Far-left wildcard Jean-Luc Melenchon. Photo AFP Tuesday night's "Grand débat" between all 11 presidential candidates was a chaotic affair, but viewers were clear about who they found to be the most convincing. It was far-left firebrand Jean-Luc Mélenchon was convinced most viewers, according to an Elabe poll for French TV station BFM TV, which aired the debate. In fact some 25 percent of viewers figured the 65-year-old candidate was the "most convincing" of them all. Mélenchon set social media alight on Tuesday night for his memorable lines, telling Le Pen to "give us a break about religion", asking if her proposition to put religious symbols in town halls was her "vision of secularism". Just behind him was one of the current front runners for the presidency, Emmanuel Macron, whose arguments were most convincing according to 21 percent of respondents. Macron also landed blows on the far right Le Pen, telling her "you tell the same lies as your father … [Read more...] about Round two: Who were the winners of France’s presidential debate?
All 11 candidates in France's presidential election, from frontrunners Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron down to the minnows, took part in a giant TV debate on Tuesday seeking to swing undecided voters. With just 19 days until the first round of voting in a rollercoaster contest, the debate could influence the momentum of the campaign, with support for 39-year-old Macron still seen as fragile and conservative François Fillon believing he can make an unlikely comeback. Polls show far-right candidate Le Pen and centrist independent Macron in a dead heat at around 25 percent heading into the first round on April 23. And the first fierce exchange during Tuesday's debate was between the current favourites. Whilst discussing Europe, Macron took aim at Le Pen: "Europe allows protection," said Macron. "What you are proposing Madame Le Pen is a drop in spending power [for French workers]. That would mean economic war. "What you are proposing is nationalism … [Read more...] about The Big Debate: Macron tells Le Pen ‘you tell the same lies your father did’
Centrist frontrunner Emmanuel Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen are expected to come under attack in the first of three debates ahead of the April 23 opening round in France's most unpredictable election in decades. A total of 11 candidates spanning the spectrum from Trotskyist left to far right are running for president. Six smaller candidates have been excluded from the debates. Advisers to 48-year-old Le Pen, who is running neck-and-neck with Macron in polls for the first round but tipped for a sound beating by him in the May 7 run-off, said she would tear into the "globalist" programme of her pro-EU rival. Most previews of the debate in the French media suggest Macron will come under fire from both the left and the right in Monday's debate, something which he has grown accustomed to in recent weeks. Former economy minister Macron, 39, will also come under pressure from conservative nominee Francois Fillon, who will attempt to claw back votes lost to the … [Read more...] about French election: Macron the likely punchbag as candidates face off on TV
Some say it's high time to define shared values as Germany seeks to integrate more than a million mostly Muslim asylum seekers who arrived since 2015 under Merkel's open-door policy. Others have slammed the initiative as a grab for right-wing voters who threaten to drift off to the nationalist, anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in September elections. The eye-catching opening salvo was fired by Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere in the top-selling tabloid Bild. The front page showed the politician in charge of police and migrant affairs before the national colours black, red and gold, with the grammatically dubious headline "We Are Not Burka". In a double-page spread, de Maiziere outlined in ten points what he considers core elements of the German "Leitkultur", the guiding or dominant national culture. SEE ALSO: Germans mock government ideals for immigrant integration He listed a diligent work ethic, respect for others, being an "enlightened … [Read more...] about Bach vs burka: Germany debates identity ahead of election
A Swiss Broadcasting Corporation cameraman on Sunday. Photo: AFP Swiss voters on Sunday rejected a proposal that would have cut taxpayer funding to public broadcasters, after a campaign that stirred debate about the media's role in fostering national unity. Swiss voters on Sunday rejected a proposal that would have cut taxpayer funding to public broadcasters, after a campaign that stirred debate about the media's role in fostering national unity. The "No Billag" initiative -- a reference to the Billag firm that collects the media licensing fee -- divided Switzerland on political and generational lines. But 71 percent voted "no" to the proposals, according to official results published by the Swiss news agency ATS. Read also: ·"Scrapping compulsory licence fees would be dangerous for direct democracy" Rejection of the initiative was "a strong sign for the public service and for private regional radio and television," said the Swiss … [Read more...] about UPDATED: Swiss vote against plan to scrap compulsory TV licence fee