High points of previous presidential debates

2nd May 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, May 2, 2007 (AFP) - The television debate on Wednesday between rightwinger Nicolas Sarkozy and Socialist Segolene Royal will be the fifth face-to-face encounter of French presidential candidates.

PARIS, May 2, 2007 (AFP) - The television debate on Wednesday between rightwinger Nicolas Sarkozy and Socialist Segolene Royal will be the fifth face-to-face encounter of French presidential candidates.

Here are some of the high points of previous debates.

1974: Valery Giscard d'Estaing sits down with Francois Mitterrand for the first televised debate. When Mitterrand suggests that Giscard d'Estaing is out of touch with the poor and disenfranchised, he retorts: "You do not, Monsieur Mitterrand, have a monopoly on the heart."  Giscard d'Estaing goes on to win the election.

1981: In what is billed as a "revenge match", Mitterrand hits back at Giscard d'Estaing who had described him as a "man of the past" in the previous debate and called him "a man of the passive."

When Giscard d'Estaing ties to test Mitterrand's knowledge of finance by asking him the exchange rate of the Germam mark, the socialist responds: "I do not like your methods. I am not your student, you are not the president of the Republic, but my opponent." Mitterrand won the election.

1988: Mitterrand confronts Jacques Chirac, his then prime minister in a government of cohabitation. Chirac suggests that he refer to him by name, instead of by his title. "We are two equal candidates.. allow me then to call you Monsieur Mitterrand."

"You are absolutely right, Mr prime minister," retorts Mitterrand.

Chirac sought to corner Mitterrand over the release of Iranian diplomat Wahid Gordji, who was suspected of involvement in a wave of terror attacks in Paris in 1986.

"Can you look me in the eye and not say that I told you that we had evidence that Gordji was guilty? (...)  Can you look me in the eye and contest my version of the events?" said Chirac in a moment of bravado.

"I contest it, eye-to-eye," he responded. Mitterrand went on to win the election.

May 1995: Debating with Chirac, Socialist Lionel Jospin argues in favour of limiting the presidential term to five instead of seven years.

"Better to have five years with Jospin than seven years with Chirac," he quipped. Chirac went on to win the election and brought in amendments limiting the presidential term to five years.

Chirac in 2002 declined to hold a debate with far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, saying he did not want to dignify his extremist views.


Copyright AFP

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