France: Macron rejects TV debates
The presidential election is due to begin in four weeks in France. President Macron delayed announcing his candidacy until the last minute but the incumbent president is nonetheless ahead in the polls. This is likely one reason why he doesn't want to engage in a public debate with his eleven rivals.
Macron is disregarding the democratic system and its processes, writes public law professor Guillaume Drago in Le Figaro:
“The election of the president is the focus of our political life and determines our common future. It is therefore fundamental that candidates - all candidates - publicly debate the future they propose for the country. Their democratic function is to present themselves as they really are, to tell the French the truth about the state of our nation and its difficulties, and to put forward a project that can receive the approval of a broad majority of our fellow citizens. The legitimacy of this election and of the head of state who emerges from it are at stake.”
Multiple debates to appeal to many voters
Macron should debate separately with each of his main rivals, l'Opinion suggests:
“For example, with those whose absence in this presidential election would have posed a serious political problem. In this way, the major political currents that structure French public life - from Marine Le Pen to Valérie Pécresse, from Eric Zemmour to Jean-Luc Mélenchon, from Yannick Jadot to Fabien Roussel and Anne Hidalgo - would have the opportunity to pit their programmes against the track record and promises of the outgoing president. There would be no danger of a great hullabaloo, no threat to democracy, but the guarantee of drawing the interest of millions of French people and motivating those whom a lukewarm election campaign might otherwise encourage to abstain. So no more debate: long live the debates!”