Europe

Factory worker creates sparks at French election debate

  • Presidential candidate for the far-left New Anticapitalist Party Philippe Poutou attends a television debate.

    Presidential candidate for the far-left New Anticapitalist Party Philippe Poutou attends a television debate.  (AP)

  • In this photo dated Tuesday, April 4, 2017 far-left candidate for the French presidential election Philippe Poutou attends a television debate at French private TV channels BFM TV and CNews, in La Plaine-Saint-Denis, outside Paris, France. The 11 candidates in France's presidential race are preparing to face off in a crucial debate Tuesday evening, less than three weeks before the first round of the election. (Lionel Bonaventure/Pool Photo via AP)

    In this photo dated Tuesday, April 4, 2017 far-left candidate for the French presidential election Philippe Poutou attends a television debate at French private TV channels BFM TV and CNews, in La Plaine-Saint-Denis, outside Paris, France. The 11 candidates in France's presidential race are preparing to face off in a crucial debate Tuesday evening, less than three weeks before the first round of the election. (Lionel Bonaventure/Pool Photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • From left to right, France's presidential candidates Jean-Luc Melenchon, Francois Fillon, Jean Lassalle, Nathalie Arthaud, Marine Le Pen, Benoit Hamon, Jacques Cheminade, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, Emmanuel Macron and Francois Asselineau pose for a group photo prior to a television debate at French private TV channels BFM TV and CNews, in La Plaine-Saint-Denis, outside Paris, France, Tuesday, April 4, 2017. The 10 candidates in France's presidential race are preparing to face off in a crucial debate Tuesday evening, less than three weeks before the first round of the election. (Lionel Bonaventure/Pool Photo via AP)

    From left to right, France's presidential candidates Jean-Luc Melenchon, Francois Fillon, Jean Lassalle, Nathalie Arthaud, Marine Le Pen, Benoit Hamon, Jacques Cheminade, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, Emmanuel Macron and Francois Asselineau pose for a group photo prior to a television debate at French private TV channels BFM TV and CNews, in La Plaine-Saint-Denis, outside Paris, France, Tuesday, April 4, 2017. The 10 candidates in France's presidential race are preparing to face off in a crucial debate Tuesday evening, less than three weeks before the first round of the election. (Lionel Bonaventure/Pool Photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

A messy-haired Ford car factory worker in a baggy sweater stole the limelight during France's dheated presidential election debate.

The man, Philippe Poutou, was not a member of the audience. He's a candidate from the far-left New Anticapitalist Party (NPA), on stage with 10 other candidates less than three weeks ahead of the first poll.

Poutou created sparks with his fighting rhetoric for the working classes and jabs at front-runners embroiled in corruption scandals.

He has virtually no chance of winning the presidency in the two-round election April 23 and May 7. But he is getting his voice heard and basking in the unusual limelight Wednesday after the Tuesday night debate.

Social media went wild with Poutou's stinging attacks, framing him as a regular man speaking truth to power.