The three Socialist hopefuls for next April’s French Presidential elections have held their last televised debate before a vote in nine days to choose the official candidate. The subject at hand was foreign policy, in particular Turkey’s entry to the EU, and all three managed to take a different stance.
Frontrunner for the Socialist candidacy Segolène Royal is the least experienced of the three in live debates and foreign affairs. She, like the two others, agreed that Turkey has not yet fulfilled the criteria for EU entry. Advocate of a more open style of Presidency, Royal wants a referendum to decide Ankara’s European future, without revealing her personal opinion.
Former Finance Minister Dominique Strauss-Kahn openly backs Turkish entry. He said that the country is strategically important given its borders with Iran and Iraq, adding that Europe must be responsible for all of the Mediterranean region.
Former Prime Minister Laurent Fabius is against Turkey’s accession to the bloc. He criticised Strauss-Kahn for wanting a 50 nation EU, adding that this would not allow for political integration and would lead to free exchange. He, he says, wants a left-leaning, social and environmental Europe.
The two male candidates tried to put their political experience to the forefront of the debate. Commentators saw no clear-cut winner following the broadcast, before which Royal had a 25-point lead over her rivals according to some polls.