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Zinedine Zidane: France should 'avoid' a Marine Le Pen presidency

01 May 2017

On Friday, she released a video on Twitter urging those who had voted for the far-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon to prevent rival Emmanuel Macron from becoming president.

Aliot, who is also Le Pen's longtime partner, said Jalkh plans to defend himself from allegations that he denied the reality of the Holocaust - an act that's illegal in France. But Magali Boumaza, a professor at the Galatasaray University in Istanbul, Turquie, who carried out the interview, said she had proof in notebooks and on a tape recording of Jalkh's comments.

Anti-Semitism has been a tough subject for Le Pen in the past. Last year, Le Pen, who has been convicted twice since 1987 for comments about the Second World War, was fined €30,000 for saying the gas chambers were only a "detail" of Second World War. When Le Pen stepped down in favor of Jalkh, his Holocaust denials suddenly came to public attention.

"Personally, I think that it is impossible from a technical point of view to use for mass extermination", he said of the use of Zyklon B in gas chambers.

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The presidential contest has blown apart traditional party loyalties, presenting voters with a stark choice between a resurgent far right, once a pariah in French politics, and a man whose political movement is less than a year old and who has never held elected office.

At the beginning of this week, Marine Le Pen temporarily resigned the leadership of the Front National (FN) to focus on her bid for the French presidency - and to distance herself from the party's toxic reputation.

Jalkh "feels that there isn't the necessary serenity for him to to perform this interim role", National Front vice president Louis Aliot told TV station BFM on Friday. As the Guardian reports, Marine Le Pen described her father's comments as "political suicide" and a "total spiral of strategy" - implying that his main sin was not defending the Nazis but being indiscreet about it.

Four days later, her stand-in Jean-Francois Jalkh was summarily replaced by Steeve Briois, a popular FN mayor from northern France, after Jalkh was accused of praising the work of a convicted Holocaust denier.

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She's gone so far as to kick her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, out of the party, which he founded in 1972, over the issue.

Jalkh said he had no recollection of the interview and that the accusations were totally unfounded.

Jalkh told Le Monde he had no recollection of the interview.

In the meantime, the other presidential finalist, centrist Emmanuel Macron, is to visit a memorial at the village of Oradour-sur-Glane, which was destroyed on 10 June 1944, when 642 of its inhabitants, including women and children, were massacred by a Nazi German Waffen-SS company.

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Zinedine Zidane: France should 'avoid' a Marine Le Pen presidency