14:54, 06 August 2020
watch on Dushanbe time, GMT+5
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French election candidates clash in TV debate

Francois Fillon and Marine Le Pen have come in for harsh attacks

from their French presidential election rivals over police investigations against them during a televised debate. After two hours of debate on Tuesday among the 11 candidates on unemployment, immigration and relations with Europe, two far-left candidates took the gloves off and challenged Fillon and Le Pen on judicial investigations against them. "Since January, it's just been a great campaign ... the more we dig, the more corruption there is, the more cheating there is," Philippe Poutou, a fringe candidate, said. He was referring to a press report in the satirical Le Canard Enchaine weekly which was the first to allege that Fillon had been paying his wife huge sums of taxpayers' money for work she had not properly carried out. Fillon, a 63-year-old former conservative prime minister, and his wife are being investigated over the allegations, though they deny any wrongdoing.