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EXTRA French presidential candidates clash on immigration, secularism

Europe
20.03.2017
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Paris (dpa) - The first debate in the French presidential campaign heated up when the candidates were questioned about the hot-button topics of immigration and secularism.

Socialist candidate Benoit Hamon said immigration to France had been "stable since the 1930s yet every year there is a debate about it," arguing: "We should have an approach that favours integration rather than electoral salesmanship."

But far-right candidate Marine Le Pen said she wanted to "stop legal and illegal immigration," arguing that extremists were "slipping in" among migrants and France should look after its own poor and unemployed. 

Le Pen also called for France‘s ban on Islamic headscarves in schools to be extended to all public places, drawing the ire of leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon who asked if she was also going to ban people from "wearing long or short skirts" for religious reasons.

Centrist Emmanuel Macron said: "The trap you‘re falling into, Mrs Le Pen, is that of dividing the French people."

dpa pog rmo

 

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