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2022 FRENCH PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

Jailed Putin critic Navalny calls on France to vote for Macron

Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny has called on French voters to support incumbent President Emmanuel Macron in the second round of the presidential vote this weekend, accusing opponent Marine Le Pen's far-right party of links to President Vladimir Putin.

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny inside a glass cell during a court hearing
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny inside a glass cell during a court hearing. (Photo: Kirill Kudryavtsev / AFP)

“I certainly, without hesitation, urge the people of France to vote for Emmanuel Macron on April 24th,” Navalny said in a thread on Twitter, posting both in French and English.

Navalny said he was “shocked” that Le Pen’s party received a €9 million loan from “Putin’s notorious money-laundering outfit”, the First Czech-Russian Bank.

“I don’t doubt for a minute that negotiations with these people and deals with them included a shadowy political part as well,” 45-year-old Navalny said.

“This is corruption. This is selling political influence to Putin.”

He said France was “close” to his heart and he felt he could address the French for a number of reasons.

“I’m in jail due to a criminal complaint by a French company,” he said, referring to French cosmetics company Yves Rocher.

In 2014, a Russian court found Navalny guilty of defrauding the Russian subsidiary of Yves Rocher in a ruling later declared “arbitrary” by the European Court of Human Rights.

He was handed a suspended sentence of three and a half years, but was ordered in 2021 to serve jail time.

“I will root for France, the French and EmmanuelMacron,” Navalny said on Twitter.

In 2020, Navalny survived a poisoning attack with Novichok, a Soviet-designed nerve agent, he blames on the Kremlin.

Last month a Russian court found him guilty of new charges of embezzlement and contempt of court and extended his sentence to nine years in a higher security prison.

Navalny and his team have published videos about the wealth of Russian elites, garnering millions of views on YouTube.

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POLICE

France proposes getting rid of penalties for ‘minor’ speeding offences

The French government is considering changing speeding laws so that drivers will not lose points on their licence if they are caught going just a few kilometres over the speed limit.

France proposes getting rid of penalties for 'minor' speeding offences

France’s Interior Ministry is considering changing its current rules for minor speeding violations – proposing getting rid of the penalty for drivers who only violate the rule by going just a few kilometres over the speed limit.

The Ministry has not laid out a timeline for when this could come into effect, but they said they are currently in the preliminary stages of studying how the change could be carried out.

“The fine of course remains,” said the Interior Ministry to French daily Le Parisien.

That is to say you can still be fined for going five kilometres over the speed limit, but there might not be any more lost points for driving a couple kilometres over the posted limit. 

READ ALSO These are the offences that can cost you points on your driving licence

Of the 13 million speeding tickets issued each year in France, 58 percent are for speeding violations of less than 5 km per hour over the limit, with many coming from automated radar machines.

How does the current rule work?

The rule itself is already a bit flexible, depending on where the speeding violation occurs.

If the violation happens in an urban area or low-speed zone (under 50 km per hour limit), then it is considered a 4th class offence, which involves a fixed fine of €135. Drivers can also lose a point on their licences as a penalty for this offence. 

Whereas, on highways and high-speed roads, the consequences of speeding by 5 km per hour are less severe. The offence is only considered 3rd class, which means the fixed fine is €68. There is still the possibility of losing a point on your licence, however. 

How do people feel about this?

Pierre Chasseray, a representative from the organisation “40 Millions d’Automobilistes,” thinks the government should do away with all penalties for minor speeding offences, including fines. He told French daily Le Parisien that this is only a “first step.”

Meanwhile, others are concerned that the move to get rid of points-deductions could end up encouraging people to speed, as they’ll think there is no longer any consequence.

To avoid being accused of carelessness, France’s Interior Ministry is also promising to become “firmer” with regards to people who use other people’s licences in order to get out of losing points – say by sending their spouse’s or grandmother’s instead of their own after being caught speeding. The Interior Ministry plans to digitalise license and registration in an effort to combat this. 

Ultimately, if you are worried about running out of points on your licence, there are still ways to recover them.

You can recover your points after six months of driving without committing any other offences, and there are also awareness training courses that allow you to gain your points back. It should be noted, however, that these trainings typically cost between €150 and €250, and they do not allow you to regain more than four points.

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