French presidential debate proves a marathon of egalité in action

Frontrunners Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen clash during four-hour debate giving equal TV airtime to all 11 candidates

It was long – four hours of live prime-time television. It was historic – never before had 11 French presidential candidates assembled for a political debate. It was occasionally chaotic, ill-tempered, and rambling, but on the whole civilised and restrained.

Most of all, France’s second presidential debate was an example of democracy in action.

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