Far-left presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon has advocated for an “independent France which will be the world champion of peace”.

Mr Melenchon and the 10 other presidential candidates appeared on a television programme on Thursday night where they are scheduled to speak one after another.

Mr Melenchon said he wants to have a dialogue with Germany about renegotiating European Union treaties and creating new rules for the bloc for when Britain leaves.

French presidential election 2017: latest opinion polls graphic

The 65-year-old anti-establishment contender said about the EU: “We change it or we leave it.

“But I think our partners will want us to stay because without France, there is no Europe.”

He also wants France to quit Nato. Mr Melenchon has enjoyed a late surge in polls that place him among the top contenders during Sunday’s first-round vote.

Only the top two will advance to the run-off on May 7.