Marine Le Pen denies France's role in rounding up Jews during WWII

The detained Jews were packed into the Winter Velodrome cycling stadium, known colloquially as Vel d'Hiv, before being sent to the Auschwitz extermination camp.

Paris - What if far-right candidate Marine Le Pen wins the French presidential elections?

"I don't think France is responsible for the Vel d'Hiv", she said on the LCI television channel.

Le Pen has said repeatedly that France would leave the European Union under her leadership, while Melenchon has said he would pull the country out of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

While her father Jean-Marie Le Pen, who led the FN until he passed the baton to his daughter in 2011, revelled in minimising the Holocaust, Marine Le Pen has sought to purge the FN of anti-Semitism and even expelled her father from the party because of his comments.

"These remarks are an insult to France, which honoured itself in 1995 by recognising its responsibility in the deportation of France's Jews and facing its history without a selective memory", the CRIF said.

He says he wants France to pull out of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to avoid a confrontation with Russian Federation.

Le Pen's remarks came just ahead of the Jewish festival of Passover and amid a tide of nationalism and populism sweeping French and European politics.

"It does not in any way exonerate the personal and personal responsibility of the French who participated in the vile round-up of the Vel d'Hiv and all the atrocities committed during that period", she said.

Mr Melenchon is thought to have been buoyed by two televised debates which saw him get tough on Ms Le Pen.

The gap between French and German bond yields has shot wider in recent months on the possibility that Le Pen will win the keys to the Elysee Palace and try to take France out of the single currency bloc.

The disturbance delayed the start of Ms Le Pen's programme by an hour after it was moved to another venue.

A proposal to turn French Polynesia into an associate state of France is being opposed by French presidential candidate Francois Fillon.

(Lionel Bonaventure/Pool Photo via AP) Far-right candidate for the presidential election Marine Le Pen speaks during a campaign meeting in Monswiller near Strasbourg, eastern France, Wednesday, April 5, 2017.

In her statement, she claims that her views are in line with those of Charles de Gaulle, François Mitterrand, or Henri Guaino, Jean-Pierre Chevènement, and Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, who did not recognize the Vichy regime as "a French government", since the legitimate government was in exile in London.

"And she succeeded", said Lebourg, a professor at the University of Perpignan.

Le Pen's victory represents an obvious threat, according to Matthieu Croissandeau, editor-in-chief of the "L'Obs" weekly magazine.

  • Leroy Wright