French television viewers were in for a bizarre presidential debate Thursday night, where one candidate refused to respond to the others remarks, The Local reports.
Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Front, was invited by television channel France 2 to debate Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the leader of the far-left Front de Gauche. But Le Pen refused to engage her rival, even reading a newspaper at one point.
“This debate has no point,” she said. “You don’t have the same level of support as me.” Le Pen is currently scoring between 15 and 20 per cent in opinion polls, with Mélenchon trailing at between 7 and 9 per cent.
Le Pen’s aloofness became increasingly annoying for Mélenchon, who at one point had to say: “looking at me when I speak to you.”
Le Pen even said she would prefer to debate one of the two leading candidates, Nicolas Sarkozy or François Hollande, as she had a chance of meeting them in the second round of the election. She called Mélenchon a “fake candidate” whose only strategy was to throw “violent insults” at her.
Le Pen alleged that Mélenchon had called her “fascist”, “a blind bat”, and “half-demented”.
“That still leaves you one good half!” Mélenchon shot back.
Needless to say, the exchange (and lack of it) definitely had the studio audience entertained.
But Le Pen’s silence could be her undoing, as it allowed Mélenchon to grill her on various issues and claim that she was scared of his rise in the polls (from 3.5-4 per cent to almost 9), according to France 24.
Watch a video montage of the debate here (the full clip is on The Local):
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