'You lie all the time!' Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen come to blows in heated final election debate

Tom Powell

French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron has accused his rival Marine Le Pen of “lying all the time” as the pair faced off in a heated TV debate.

Both candidates came out swinging in in a bid to sell their polar-opposite visions to the many undecided voters who could sway Sunday's election.

Ms Le Pen painted the former banker and economy minister as a servant of big business and finance, and declared herself "the candidate of the people, of the France that we love".

In return, Mr Macron painted the far-right nationalist as an empty shell, shaky on details and seeking to profit politically from the anger of French voters - a dominant theme of the campaign.

"You lie all the time," he said. "You propose nothing."

The two presidential candidates face off across a table (EPA)

She dismissed his economic proposals with sweeping critiques and bristled at his suggestions that she did not understand how finance and business works.

"You're trying to play with me like a professor with a pupil," she said.

Sitting opposite each other at a round table, neither pulled their punches.

People watch a live broadcast of the debate (AP)

With both talking over each other, the debate quickly became a shouting match at times, with no common ground between the pro-European Union centrist candidate and the anti-EU Ms Le Pen.

Ms Le Pen accused her centrist rival of being "complacent" about Islamic fundamentalists.

She said: "We must eradicate the Islamist ideology."

She has pledged to shut down a powerful fundamentalist federation linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, known as the Union of Islamic Organisations in France (UOIF), and said it supports Mr Macron.

Ms Le Pen has also proposed a series of measures to stamp out the possibility of another new terrorist attack in France, including expelling all foreigners with a record and revoking the French citizenship of dual-nationals under suspicion.

She suggested Mr Macron was "waiting for an attack" rather than taking proactive measures.