French Socialist rivals spar in last debate before vote
Livelier exchanges have marked the final TV debate between the six rivals for the French Socialist ticket at next year's presidential election.
Days before the first round of voting in the opposition party's US-style primaries, they argued about Europe and the role of the left.
The two previous debates had no significant effect on opinion polls.
These make Francois Hollande the favourite to challenge President Nicolas Sarkozy.
While the opinion polls, coupled with recent Senate elections, give the impression that the Socialists have a strong chance of winning in 2012, analysts say they have a significant challenge ahead.
The party has to overcome a history of internal bickering.
Mr Hollande is standing against his former partner and mother of his children, Segolene Royal, as well as Ms Royal's long-time rival, Martine Aubry.
The other candidates are two representatives of the party's younger generation - Arnaud Montebourg and Manuel Valls - and a former minister, Jean-Michel Baylet.Police row
After Mr Hollande declared he would, if elected, "speak on behalf of all the French", Ms Aubry angrily remarked "a soft left cannot fight a hard right", in what analysts said was a swipe at the leading candidate's reputation as a consensus politician.
Earlier this week, a new row erupted, but this time involving Mr Hollande's new partner, Valerie Trierweiler.
Mr Hollande protested after L'Express magazine, quoting "police sources", reported that French police had been running secret checks on Ms Trierweiler.
"If this were confirmed it would speak realms about the right's plans for the election campaign," he said.
Interior Minister Claude Gueant responded by demanding proof of the checks. On Wednesday, he lodged a formal complaint, accusing L'Express of defaming the police, France's AFP news agency reports.
The first round of the primaries, which are open to non-party members, is due to be held on Sunday with the second following a week later.
The novel system for choosing the party's candidate has been commended by Mr Sarkozy's own prime minister.
Francois Fillon said it was a "modern process" which suited both "right and left".