With the looming French presidential elections, the number one economic newsmagazine programme on the French audiovisual landscape kept in step, offering candidates a unique platform of expression and an opportunity to defend their respective programmes. These were not, however, classic political programmes. Candidates had to react to reports made by Capital on 5 February and then each week from 4 to 18 March. The candidates were thus confronted live to real cases, testimonies and to specific questions from voters that were asked to them on the social networks.
National Front candidate Marine Le Pen started things off on 5 February, giving her point of view on immigration and the increased presence of Qatari capital in France, while on 4 March, Democratic Movement candidate François Bayrou gave his views on the “Made in France” topic and the preservation of national and regional know-how. Questioned about the French automobile industry, which is not experiencing the same success as its competitors, he explained it as a problem of poor image French products have in general, which he is committed to changing if he is elected.
François Bayrou (right)
On 11 March it was Socialist Party candidate François Hollande’s turn to be invited on the set of Capital. He was questioned about employment, salaries, the quality of life and taxes. He brought up his proposal to introduce an income tax rate of 75 per cent for revenues above €1 million, explaining that this decision was not an attack against the most privileged, but a way to help top up the country’s accounts.
François Hollande (right)
Finally, on 18 March President Nicolas Sarkozy came to conclude the series of special election programmes, expressing his views on buying power, employment and living conditions and the fight against deficits. He also defended his “work more, earn more” project for teachers, who on a voluntary basis would work 25 hours instead of 18. These additional hours would then be used to accompany students with difficulties.
The special presidential editions of Capital, which offered live interviews with the different candidates, attracted about three million viewers on average each Sunday in prime time, with an audience peak registered on 5 February for guest politician Marine Le Pen with 3.7 million viewers and a total audience share of 14.7 per cent.