Le Pen criticized for denying French blame in WWII roundup

Far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen drew protests from her political rivals and the Israeli government on Monday by denying the French state's responsibility for a mass arrest of Jews in Paris during World War Two.

Most were crammed into the Velodrome d'Hiver cycling stadium, commonly known as the Vel d'Hiv, before being deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp. The Nazis deported an estimated 78,000 French Jews to death camps between 1940 and 1944.

Since National Front was established by Le Pen's father, Jean-Marie, the party has been accused of espousing anti-Semitism, hatred of Muslims and other forms of xenophobia.

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

Independent centrist presidential candidate for the presidential election Emmanuel Macron attends a television debate at French private TV channels BFM TV and CNews, in La Plaine-Saint-Denis, outside Paris, France, Tuesday, April 4, 2017.

She added: "I think that generally speaking if there are people responsible, it's those who were in power at the time". They highlighted, however, that "this time may be different because Melenchon appears closer to the top two candidates in first-round polls".

Currently, 11 candidates are officially running for France's presidential election 2017.

The far right Front National, led by Le Pen, has promised a referendum on membership of the European Union and has campaigned on a nationalistic platform that has included a return to the old French franc. The Vichy regime, so named because it was centered in the more southerly city of Vichy during the German occupation of northern France, assisted in the roundups and deportations of Jews for several years. Marine Le Pen has even pushed him out of her far-right National Front party, which he co-founded, in an effort to appeal to more mainstream voters.

"It makes me throw up", Lassalle said on Franceinfo radio.

"So, I want them to be proud of being French again", she said.

"If Melenchon continues to gain ground and Macron continues losing it with Le Pen holding hers, this presidential race could potentially become a far-right versus far-left battle in the second round", said Naomi Totten, spokeswoman for Betfair.

She argued that had been the position of France's heads of state, including Charles De Gaulle, until former President Jacques Chirac "wrongly" acknowledged the state's role in Jewish persecution during World War II.

In the runoff set for May 7, Macron, 39, would win handily if the election were held today.

Le Pen made a reference to a "new anti-Semitism" in a speech Monday on countering terrorism - without revisiting her Sunday remark.

"Every second of my presidency will be useful to France and the French", she said in a video setting out ten measures she would take in her first two months in office.

US, Canada, Mexico ask FIFA for faster World Cup bid process