French election: Leftist Melenchon most convincing in live TV debate
French presidential election candidate for the far-left coalition La France insoumise Jean-Luc Melenchon reacts during a debate organised by the French private TV channels BFM TV and CNews. Photograph: (AFP)
Firebrand leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon was found the most convincing performer by French viewers of Tuesday night's televised debate among the 11 candidates running in this month's presidential election, a snap poll showed.
The poll by Elabe for BFM TV said Melenchon had managed to convince 25 per cent of those who had watched the four-hour long debate. Some 21 per cent found centrist Emmanuel Macron as the most convincing, the second best score.
Far-right leader Marine Le Pen came in fourth behind conservative Francois Fillon, with 11 per cent and 15 per cent respectively.
However, Macron was seen in the same poll as having the best program of all the candidates by 23 per cent of viewers, followed by Melenchon with 22 per cent and Fillon with 18 per cent.
The two leading candidates, Macron and Le Pen, clashed sharply over Europe during the debate.
Voting in the first round of the election is set for April 23 with a runoff between the two leading candidates on May 7.