"I don't think France is responsible for the Vel d'Hiv," conservative French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen told a broadcaster recently, claiming the rounding up of Jews during World War II was "not France".
For many, the inflammatory remarks contradicted her attempts to distance her National Front party from her father and the party’s controversial founder, Jean-Marie Le Pen.
According to the party’s project coordinator, Jean Messiha, the National Front has moved on from its contentious past.
"Our project is englobing; it’s inclusive, not exclusive," says Messiha. "You are talking about history. Don’t take the Front National of the 70s as a reference."
When asked about reports of National Front employee, Frederic Chatillon, commemorating Adolf Hitler’s birthday, Messiha called it "propaganda".
"This is total lies," says Messiha. "This is propaganda from the French media who do not want to listen to us on our project."
"Today the Front National is a structure that gathered 30 percent almost of the vote," says Messiha.
In this special interview, National Front project coordinator and Marine Le Pen adviser, Jean Messiha, defends his party’s controversial positions on societal and political issues.