French Far-Right Presidential Hopeful Le Pen Strengthens Positions in Run-Off

Francois Hollande. Enlarge Caption
Francois Hollande. Enlarge Caption
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28 March, 2017

Russian President Vladimir Putin with Marine Le Pen, the leader of France's far-right National Front party, during a meeting in Moscow.

MOSCOW-French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen told Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday that their countries should share intelligence to combat terrorism, proposing cooperation between Russia and the West that has often been hard in practice.

She has previously called for closer ties with the Russian leader and approved of Moscow's annexation of Crimea in 2014. Le Pen is an advocate for lifting sanctions imposed against Russian Federation after its 2014 invasion of Ukraine and for France pulling out of the European Union, both of which would further Putin's economic and geopolitical goals. She has also noted that if she is elected as president, mosques and places of Islamic teaching will be closed down. The Russian president said he was aware of Le Pen's active presidential campaign. It likes her commitment to forge a strong partnership with Moscow. She has visited Moscow on several occasions, enjoying positive Russian media coverage.

Opinion polls show Le Pen, who has said she admires Putin, getting through to the second, decisive round of France's presidential election on May 7 but then losing to centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron.

After the meeting she said that one of her first actions if she wins will be to look at "swiftly" ending European Union sanctions imposed on Russian Federation over the Ukraine crisis.

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The Russian leader met the French anti-EU and far-right politician in the Kremlin on Friday (24 March), an honour that is normally reserved for foreign heads of state or government.

Embroiled in allegations of financial impropriety, conservative French presidential candidate Francois Fillon on Monday accused the outgoing administration of trying to "hang on" to its privileges. "But let's not forget who they are, what they do, and the nature of their regime", Macron said.

Le Pen last week declared two loans amounting to 6 million euros for the campaign, money which came from her father and party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen's Cotelec organization.

"I expect more anti-Macron campaigns will be coming". While Donald Trump had no political background, Le Pen has a long history of politics.


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