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Last Updated: Sunday, 25 February 2007, 18:01 GMT
Le Pen presents election plans
Jean-Marie Le Pen
Mr Le Pen wants to halt "uncontrolled immigration" to France
The leader of France's far-right National Front party - Jean-Marie Le Pen - has presented his campaign platform for April's presidential vote.

At the party convention in Lille, he said he would halt immigration and integration with the European Union.

It is his fifth and probably last bid for the presidency, and correspondents say he has little chance of winning.

Mr Le Pen came a surprise second in the 2002 race, but is currently trailing in the opinion polls.

The 78-year-old politician arrived on stage to chants of "Le Pen, president!" and launched into an attack on the whole French political class who he blamed for leading the country to ruin, says the BBC's Jonathan Marcus in Lille.

'Miserable people'

He told 2,000 supporters that the situation in France was "catastrophic".

"There can not be any economic reform nor a return to growth without putting a halt to uncontrolled immigration of all the miserable people of the planet who are coming to compete with our impoverished workers," he said.

Marine Le Pen speaking to the convention - 24/2/2007
Marine Le Pen is trying to modernise the National Front
His promise to return illegal immigrants to their countries of origin raised loud cheers from the audience.

He said he would cut off social and health care benefits to immigrants and lower taxes, build more prison cells and boost military spending.

Mr Le Pen beat Socialist Lionel Jospin to the second round of the election in 2002, but opinion polls show him trailing in fourth place this time with about 13% of the vote.

However, the party's deputy leader said the polls were misleading.

"The polls have always been lower than the final result - sometimes not even half of what we finally get," said Bruno Gollnisch.

The centrist Francois Bayrou has jumped to 17% in the opinion polls, potentially sapping support from both the main candidates.

Socialist Segolene Royal and conservative Nicolas Sarkozy from the governing UMP are running level at about 28% in the polls.

Mr Le Pen has not yet collected the 500 signatures from elected officials that will enable him to register as a candidate.

He cannot win the presidency even if he makes it to May's second round vote, our correspondent says, but his legacy will have been to establish his far-right party as a seemingly permanent fixture on the French political scene.

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