Hungarian bank helps rescue Marine Le Pen’s campaign with €10.6 million loan

French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen gives a press conference, in Paris, Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
By John Cody
3 Min Read

French presidential candidate and MEP Marine Le Pen will finance her presidential election campaign with a loan from a Hungarian bank, according to RTL radio station. Le Pen has so far conducted a low-cost campaign after her party was blocked by French and most European banks, but now her party, the National Rally, will be able to ramp up its campaign activity with the €10.6 million lifeline.

The politician will not reveal the bank’s name due to respect for a “confidentiality clause,” and the party will not comment further on the loan, according to RTL.

“We obtained this loan under complicated conditions, tightening the rules for financing election campaigns and the reluctance of banks to pay for the democratic life of our country. It will allow us to proceed to the final stretch of the campaign in peace,” said the temporary head of the National Rally, Jordan Bardella, who took up the position after the resignation of Le Pen.

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In connection with the loan, the media is pointing to Le Pen’s close relationship with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, according to the Czech News Agency. According to some, Orbán is capable of aiding with loan intermediation to support the success of a like-minded politician. However, the National Rally party denies this, and there is as of now no evidence to support the Hungarian leader had any involvement in the loan disbursement.

The National Rally is heavily in debt and has had trouble finding financial institutions’ support for several years. In the previous French presidential elections, Le Pen was forced to turn to a Russian bank for a loan, which her rivals used to paint her as an ally of Vladimir Putin despite the unfavorable financial conditions of the loan.

According to French law, parties that receive a minimum of 5 percent of the national vote, which National Rally is expected to far exceed, are entitled to have their election expenses reimbursed by the government. As a result, the National Rally is expected to be able to repay the loan following the election.

Presidential poll

According to Harris Interactive’s recent poll of electoral preferences, current President Emmanuel Macron would do best in the first and second rounds. According to the survey, he would get 24 percent of the vote in the first round of voting. In the second round of elections, Macron would beat Le Pen 55 to 45.

Valérie Pécresse, head of the Île-de-France region, would finish third with 15 percent and former political journalist Éric Zemmour fourth with 14 percent.

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