Marine Le Pen has vowed to clamp down on immigration if she becomes president of France
The leader of Front National clashed with fellow presidential candidates on jobs, terrorism and France’s place in Europe just weeks before the election.
In the fiery encounter between the top five contenders, Ms Le Pen said: “I want to stop immigration, it is clear."
Ms Le Pen highlighted that France has its own unemployment and poverty issues which should be the priority for the French government.
Francois Fillon greets Macron prior to the debate
I want to stop immigration, it is clear
Marine Le Pen
She said: “We have seven million unemployed people, nine million suffering from poverty. We can’t welcome anyone else.”
Mr Fillon said he agreed with his rival to a certain extent saying that the economic situation of France means that the number of immigrants needs to be limited.
He said he disagreed with Centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron for supporting the lenient immigration policies that Germany has.
Who will be the next President of France? Mon, March 20, 2017
Candidates for the 2017 French Presidential Election revealed
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But Mr Macron said it is important that there is a “realistic” politics when it comes to migration as well as reducing the time it takes for people seeking asylum.
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He also spoke about the need to recruit 10,000 police officers saying that security is a “priority”.
Mr Fillon said during the debate that he was the only politician who could drive real change in France.
He said: “The real serial-killer of spending power in France is Madame Le Pen by leaving the euro and returning to the franc.”
Macron during the unprecedented television debate
Conservative candidate Mr Fillon accused Ms Le Pen of “dragging the country towards economic and social chaos”.
During the high profile debate, Ms Le Pen said: “There is an explosion of insecurity in France.
“We need to regain control of our borders so we know who is in our country.”
Mr Macron countered by saying the country is “split on fear and on the game that some people make of fear”.
Later Ms Le Pen spoke about the need for France to leave the European Union saying: “I want to be the real president of France and not the vice chancellor of Mrs Merkel.”
She added: “The EU is locking us up, it is preventing us from any movement.
“I will organise negotiations with Europe so that we can restore the liberties that you deserve. I will organise a referendum and there will be a national debate.”
During the three and a half hour debate she vowed to stop the disorder in France by initiating a referendum on the EU.
Voters will go to the polls on April 23 with the second round of elections to take place on May 7.