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Miss France crowned Miss Universe – [Images]

(UDHAYAM, PHILIPPINES) – Miss France was crowned Miss Universe on Monday in a made-for-television spectacle free of last year’s dramatic mix-up but with a dash of political controversy as the finalists spoke out on the refugee crisis and other hot-button global issues.

Iris Mittenaere, a dental surgery student from Lille in the north of France, beat 85 of the world’s most beautiful women at the event in the Philippines scheduled for primetime viewing in the United States.

Mittenaere, 24, edged out Miss Haiti, the first runner-up, and Miss Colombia the second runner-up.

In the final question round, Miss France highlighted the benefits of open borders when asked about the global refugee crisis.

“In France we want to have the most globalization that we can. We want to have the biggest exchange of people that we can.

Maybe someday that will change but now we have open borders,” Mittenaere said.

“Having open borders allows us to travel more through the world and to find out more about what’s out there in the world.”

Miss Kenya, another finalist, said Donald Trump’s presidency “may not have been the choice of many people” and divided the United States.

She also spoke out in support of former US president Barack Obama and said she backed Hillary Clinton to be America’s first woman President.

“I feel once he took up his position, he was able to unify the entire nation,” said Mary Esther Were, 27.

Miss Colombia appeared to allude to Trump when asked why violence was prevalent in the world.

“Although there are presidents who don’t get along with others, we work together to unite. Campaigns, respect and inclusivity to be able to have a social transformation that would educate our children,” said Andrea Tovar, 23.

[ot-caption title=”Iris Mittenaere of France became the new Miss Universe 2016 during the pageant Monday in Manila, Philippines, local time ” url=””]

Monday’s show was headlined by US performers including Grammy award-winning rhythm and blues group Boyz II Men and rapper and Grammy award nominee Flo Rida.

Pia Wurtzbach of the Philippines won last year following a major blunder in which the host — Emmy Award winner Steve Harvey — mistakenly awarded the title to Miss Colombia.

Harvey corrected the error minutes later, apologizing on air to Wurtzbach and Miss Colombia, Ariadna Gutierrez.

The mistake featured prominently on Monday’s show, with candidates and the home audience often ribbing Harvey about it.

“Steve, I never got to thank you but thank you for making me the most popular Miss Universe,” Wurtzbach told Harvey at the opening of show.

Harvey this year got through the closing moments of the ceremony smoothly.

The Philippines agreed to host the pageant as part of efforts to draw tourists and investors.

Beauty pageants are also hugely popular in the Philippines, particularly among the tens of millions of poor who see the contests as a chance for their beautiful compatriots to live a life of fame and luxury.

But allowing the Philippines to host has proved controversial, with critics claiming the pageant would whitewash Duterte’s brutal drug war, which has left more than 6,000 people dead.

Environmentalists also hit out at pageant organisers for letting the bikini-clad contestants swim last month with endangered whale sharks.

Despite the controversies, excited fans from across the globe lined up before dawn to watch the pageant, which was held in the morning Manila time for the coveted prime American evening viewing audiences.

Miss Haiti, Raquel Pelissier, a 25-year-old survivor of the devastating 2010 earthquake that destroyed her hometown, was named first runner up while Miss Colombia, 23-year-old, Andrea Tovar, was second runner up.

[ot-caption title=”Miss Great Britain, Jaime-Lee Faulkner, is seen during the swimsuit stages of the competition in Cebu City in the Philippines ” url=””]

Fans dressed in evening gowns with a sash took selfies outside the seaside arena where the competition was held while others organised viewing parties in hotels and restaurants in the capital. – AFP

[ot-caption title=” Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach (left) prepared to crown Mittenaere shortly after her victory was announced” url=””]

[ot-caption title=”Steve Harvey (pictured with this year’s contestants) joked about his gaffe that saw him announce the wrong winner last year” url=””]

[ot-caption title=”Mittenaere is pictured during the pageant in her national costume – a cabaret-inspired ensemble with red feathers” url=””]

[ot-caption title=”Miss Universe hopeful Deshauna Baber, of the USA, took to the stage in a yellow swimsuit in the earlier stages of the contest” url=””]

[ot-caption title=”Mittenaere, from the city of Lille in northern France, blew kisses to the crowd after being proclaimed the new Miss Universe” url=””]

[ot-caption title=”The 23-year-old dental student said in her profile she would ‘advocate for dental and oral hygiene’ if she took home the crown” url=””]

[ot-caption title=”Mittenaere was visibly stunned when she was announced the winner of the annual pageant among the field of 86 contestants” url=””]

[ot-caption title=”First runner-up Miss Haiti Raquel Pelissier (left) held hands with Mittenaere moments before the winner was announced” url=””]

[ot-caption title=”Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach hugged Mittenaere after she won. The pageant was held in Wurtzbach’s country of origin” url=””]

[ot-caption title=”Mittenaere said in reply to a final question from Harvey that she would be honored if she just landed among the three finalists” url=””]

[ot-caption title=”As he closed the ceremony, the American host (pictured during the pageant) declared: ‘This is Steve Harvey, I got it right'” url=””]

[ot-caption title=”The last time France won the Miss Universe pageant was in 1953, on the second edition of the competition. Christiane Martel (pictured), of the town of Piennes in northeastern France, was crowned aged 21 years old” url=””]

[ot-caption title=”Martel (pictured center in a black gown) was seen on French television screens again in December 2011, when she unveiled the names of the 12 final contestants of the Miss France 2012 contest” url=””]



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