Vladimir Putin may have helped get Donald Trump elected — and many citizens are glad if he did. Now he’s helping Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s far-right party — and many citizens hope he does.
American intelligence has been asked to look into Marine Le Pen’s links to Russia, following her request for a $30 million (£24.3 million) loan to help fund her French presidential campaign from a bank close to Vladimir Putin.
Ms Le Pen’s Front National party has made no secret of the fact that it has taken foreign loans to help bankroll its presidential campaigns because French banks refuse to stump up the funds.
But in light of allegations of Russian interference in the U.S election of Donald Trump, scrutiny has now turned to Ms Le Pen, who is polled to reach the final round of France’s presidential elections in May. — Henry Samuel, The Telegraph, Dec. 21, 2016
Marine Le Pen
President of the Front National
MEP for North-West France; Regional councillor for Nord-Pas-de-Calais
Born: Neuilly-sur-Seine, 5 August 1968 (age 48)
Education: Panthéon-Assas University, Paris, receiving a Master of Laws and a Master of Advanced Study in Criminal Law
Family: Daughter of Front National founder Jean-Marie Le Pen. She has three children with her ex-husband, businessman Franck Chauffroy. Her niece is Front National MP Marion Maréchal-Le Pen
Career: Joined the party at 18; appointed to its national executive in 2000. She was overwhelmingly elected president of the party in 2011
Ms Le Pen’s career has been marked by her efforts to distance Front National from the more explicitly far-right party of founder Jean-Marie — a process she has termed “de-demonisation.” This culminated in an attempt to expel her father from the party in 2015, over controversial statements about the Holocaust.
Other work for the Front National: FN Work Director of Legal Affairs at the FN 1998-2003. Joined FN Executive Committee in 2000. Elected VP of FN in 2003. Managed Jean-Marie Le Pen’s 2007 Presidential Campaign. Leader of FN from Jan. 16.
French far-right political party
Leader: Marine Le Pen, daughter of founder Jean-Marie Le Pen
- Withdrawing from the European Union and the euro currency
- Protecting the French economy from “unfair” competition and globalisation
- Giving priority to French citizens in jobs and housing
- Ending mass immigration
- Taking a tough stance on law and order issues
- Reasserting “French cultural identity”
- Being a “strong and independent” France in defence and foreign affairs
“The National Front is the only party to defend an authentic French Republic, a Republic with only one vocation: the national interest, the development of French employment, the conservation of our way of life, the development of our tradition and the defence of all the French.” — Marine Le Pen, December 2016