Angry Dati-Hidalgo clashes polarise Paris town hall TV debate
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The seven contenders for the job of mayor of Paris have faced-off in a second TV debate ahead of this weekend's municipal elections. The latest opinion poll gives right-wing candidate Rachida Dati a narrow lead over the out-going socialist mayor, Anne Hidalgo. The ruling party contender, Agnès Buzyn, is in third place.
Cleanliness, security and public transport are the central concerns of those voters questioned in the opinion poll.
On Tuesday night, the televised debate between the seven candidates for the top job in the capital saw Dati and Hidalgo polarise the discussion, leaving Agnès Buzyn on the sidelines.
The struggle between the two poll leaders rapidly occupied the centre of the debate.
Anne Hidalgo asked her right-wing rival if she was aware of the average income of a Paris family with two children.
Rachida Dati answered that the Paris figure "was higher than the national average".
Hidalgo cut in to observe: "So you don't know the figure!"
Only to have Dati respond: "I am not your student, Mrs Hidalgo."
The two leading candidates also clashed on school opening hours, on the four-day week in Paris' junior schools, on refuse collection, and on security.
Dati claimed that "Seventy percent of Parisians are sick of the current regime."
The right-wing contender also clashed with Agnès Buzyn, the ruling party candidate. Dati accused Buzyn, a late arrival in the race after the disgrace of Benjamin Griveaux, of attempting to win the Paris job, knowing she had a safe seat to return to in parliament.
"How dare you?" spluttered Buzyn, who claims she has taken a great personal risk, quitting a ministerial post, in order to benefit the inhabitants of Paris.
On the question of possible alliances which might be envisaged in the wake of next weekend's first round, which will reduce the field to two contenders, Dati was once again forcefully critical of her opponents, reminding them that they were not involved in an episode of Koh-Lanta, the popular TV reality show.
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