French far-right presidential candidate Marin Le Pen rebuffed on Thursday criticism by her rival Emmanuel Macron accusing her of retaining her "authoritarian" and extremist views, despite displaying a softer image in the current campaign.

"This (criticism) makes me smile because we have never had a president who showed more signs of extremism than Emmanuel Macron," Le Pen told broadcaster France 2, citing police action against political demonstrations, such as the yellow vest movement.

In the interview, Le Pen reiterated remarks that, if elected president, she though it conceivable to hold a public referendum on reintroduction of the death penalty. Le Pen had previously said that personally she would vote against such a step.

(Reporting by Tassilo Hummel; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)