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2017 French Election What happened today in presidential race

New Anti-Capitalist Party candidate Poutou stole the show in Tuesday's debate when he rounded on Fillon and Le Pen.

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French presidential election candidate for the far-left New Anticapitalist Party (NPA) Philippe Poutou looks on during a debate between the eleven candidates for the French presidential election, on April 4, 2017 play

French presidential election candidate for the far-left New Anticapitalist Party (NPA) Philippe Poutou looks on during a debate between the eleven candidates for the French presidential election, on April 4, 2017

(POOL/AFP/File)
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The day after a debate among the 11 candidates for French president, Ford worker Philippe Poutou was cheered for his gloves-off approach to the scandals hanging over conservative Francois Fillon and far-right leader Marine Le Pen.

Here are three things that happened in the campaign on Wednesday:

'15 minutes of fame'

New Anti-Capitalist Party candidate Poutou stole the show in Tuesday's debate when he rounded on Fillon and Le Pen, accusing them of "stealing from the till".

Poutou and Trotskyist candidate Nathalie Arthaud also rebuked Le Pen for invoking her parliamentary immunity to dodge questioning by investigators.

"It was the Warholian 15 minutes of fame for the little candidates, who stood out," Frederic Dabi of Ifop polling company told AFP.

Poutou's stock rose further after he told the news weekly L'Obs on Wednesday that he had, in fact, "lacked confidence and been afraid of messing up" -- an admission the magazine described as "sweet".

No third debate

France 2 broadcaster cancelled a third debate planned for April 20, three days before the first round of the election, several candidates confirmed to AFP.

Hard-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon -- one of the standout performers in the first two debates -- had led objections to having another debate among all the candidates so close to the vote.

A last debate will be held after the first round of voting, between the two finalists who go through to the May 7 run-off round.

Hollande regrets 2012 Sarkozy snub

The eleven candidates for the French presidential election attend a debate on April 4, 2017 in La Plaine-Saint-Denis near Paris play

The eleven candidates for the French presidential election attend a debate on April 4, 2017 in La Plaine-Saint-Denis near Paris

(POOL/AFP/File)

Outgoing President Francois Hollande regrets not seeing his conservative rival Nicolas Sarkozy to his car when Sarkozy left the Elysee Palace after losing the 2012 election to the Socialist, he says in a documentary to be aired Wednesday by Canal+.

Hollande's failure to accompany Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni as far as their car broke with long-established tradition in presidential handover ceremonies. Sarkozy took it as a snub.

"I regret it because I really did not mean to appear discourteous towards my predecessor," Hollande, who is not standing for re-election, said in an excerpt posted on the website of the daily L'Opinion.

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