Le Pen’s far-right National Rally left high and dry by €2 million funding cut

France's far-right National Rally said on Sunday that its future was in doubt after judges withheld €2 million in public subsidies over allegations the party illegally took millions in European Parliament funding.

Le Pen's far-right National Rally left high and dry by €2 million funding cut
Le Pen's National Rally was formerly known as the National Front. Photo: AFP

Party leader Marine Le Pen told AFP that without the money her party, formerly known as the National Front, would no longer be able to operate and “will be dead by the end of August”.

She and other party members are accused of using funds earmarked for parliamentary assistants to pay for France-based staff over several years starting in 2009.

Investigating judges ordered the seizure of the funds, nearly half the total 4.5 million euros ($5.3 million) allocated for the party this year, on June 28, a source close the inquiry said.

Such subsidies are common in European countries, which see them as a way of ensuring a level playing field while limiting the risks of political corruption or illegal funding.

But despite the public funds, Le Pen's party has had a string of financial setbacks.

In 2014 the party had to take a nine million euro loan from a Russian bank as it struggled to secure financing in France, and several banks including Societe Generale and HSBC refused to open accounts for the party last year.

The European Parliament is demanding seven million euros in assistant subsidies it believes was fraudulently paid by Le Pen and other National Rally lawmakers, including her father and party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen.

Ten people have been charged in the inquiry so far, including Marine Le Pen.

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Marine Le Pen’s niece set to open political academy in June

The niece of far-right National Front president Marine Le Pen is set to open a political academy to "discover and train" future right-wing leaders in June.

Marine Le Pen's niece set to open political academy in June
Marion Maréchal-Le Pen. Photo: AFP

Marion Maréchal-Le Pen’s ‘independent’ school in Lyon is due to open in June and start taking students from September.

So, what do we know about it?

The academy will be “the place where all shades of the right can come to unite and thrive”, the 28-year-old former National Front députée told French conservative weekly Valeurs Actuelles in February. “We will give our students the intellectual, cultural, legal, technical and media skills they need to be successful in business or politics”. 

The school has been granted the authority to award diplomas and recruit students through a selection process, according to Le Figaro.

Tuition fees have yet to be published, but it doesn't look as if they'll be cheap as Maréchal-Le Pen is thought to be shelling out around €100,000 per year just on rent, according to LyonMag

The 400m2 building will be situated in the Confluence area in the south of Lyon, according to local National Front representatives.

Maréchal-Le Pen became the youngest ever députée in France’s National Assembly in 2012, aged just 22. However, she retired from politics last May after her aunt, the National Front leader Marine Le Pen, was defeated by Emmanuel Macron in the presidential election.

She has been labelled a more conservative version of her aunt, Marine Le Pen, who is the daughter of National Front founder Jean-Marie Le Pen. 

And some political commentators have said that the school is part of Marion Maréchal-Le Pen’s plan for a political comeback

Her name recently hit headlines for speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington DC in February, where she claimed, “France is no longer free today. After 1500 years of existence, we now must fight for our independence.”

“Here at CPAC, we are once again standing side by side in another battle for freedom,” she said, speaking mainly in English.
“I am not offended when I hear President Donald Trump say 'America first,'” she said to a loud cheer.
“In fact, I want America first for the American people, I want Britain first for the British people, and I want France first for the French people!”
By Charlotte Mason