Debate changes nothing
The two contenders in the final round of the presidential election to take place on Sunday faced each other last night in the only televised debate. The Socialist Party candidate François Hollande faced right wing incumbent president and Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) candidate Nicolas Sarkozy in a debate that lasted more than two and a half hours.
Hollande leads in the latest opinion polls by around 53% to 47% with just three days to go to the polls. Sarkozy had to destroy Hollande in the debate if he had any chance of changing public opinion and it appears he failed.
Most commentators are reporting that the debate was fairly even although a number are saying that towards the end Sarkozy looked increasingly uncomfortable; one commentator described Sarkozy as ‘coming apart’. Hollande was more aggressive than perhaps many people would have expected and he was prepared to interrupt and talk over Sarkozy. This appeared to put Sarkozy off his stride and the body language did change as the debate went on with the president struggling to make much headway.
A sign of Sarkozy’s discomfort came when he was prepared to say repeatedly ‘it’s a lie’ and at one point described Hollande as a ‘little slanderer’. Although Hollande sis, at one point call Sarkozy a liar, in the most part he simply retorted with ‘I never said that’ which came across much more effectively.
No doubt both sides will claim a victory this morning, but all Hollande had to do was to put in a credible performance and that he certainly did. The likelihood is that Hollande will win the presidential election on Sunday if the polls are to be believed. Nothing last night appeared to change that.