French Prosecutor Launches Investigation into Marine Le Pen’s 2022 Campaign Financing

The Paris prosecutor’s office has initiated a preliminary investigation into potential illicit financing of Marine Le Pen’s 2022 presidential campaign. The investigation focuses on allegations including accepting a financial loan, misappropriation of property, fraud, and forgery. These details were confirmed by the office to The Associated Press, though specifics of the alleged misconduct remain undisclosed.

The probe follows a report from the National Commission for Campaign Accounts and Political Financing (CNCCFP), which monitors campaign expenditures to ensure compliance with legal limits. In France, candidates are prohibited from exceeding certain spending thresholds during elections.

French media have reported that Le Pen is not the only candidate from the 2022 presidential race under scrutiny by the CNCCFP. Le Pen has not yet commented on the investigation.

Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Rally (formerly the National Front), has been a prominent figure in French politics, known for her nationalist and anti-immigration stance. Despite her significant following, her party has long faced accusations of racism and antisemitism, stemming from its origins and controversial statements by party members, including her father and party co-founder, Jean-Marie Le Pen.

Jean-Marie, who described the Holocaust’s gas chambers as “a detail” of World War II history, was defeated in the 2002 presidential elections after advancing to the runoff, only to be overwhelmingly rejected by French voters who rallied behind conservative Jacques Chirac. This phenomenon, known as the “Republican front,” involves voters setting aside their political differences to block the far-right from gaining power.

Republican front

In the 2022 presidential elections, Marine Le Pen advanced to the runoff against incumbent President Emmanuel Macron but was defeated as the “Republican front” held firm. Macron secured a narrower yet decisive victory, reflecting a growing yet insufficient shift in French public opinion towards the far-right.

In the subsequent legislative elections, the National Rally achieved an unprecedented 89 seats in the National Assembly, signaling potential cracks in the “Republican front.” However, the recent legislative runoffs saw the front’s resurgence, effectively curbing the National Rally’s momentum. Despite winning more seats than ever, the party remains the third-largest bloc in the 577-seat assembly, trailing behind Macron’s alliance and a left-wing coalition.

A legislative election took place in France on June 30, 2024, with a second round on July 7, to elect all 577 members of the 17th National Assembly of the Fifth French Republic. This election was prompted by Macron’s decision to dissolve the National Assembly and call a snap election following the 2024 European Parliament election, where the National Rally made significant gains against his Besoin d’Europe electoral list.

Jordan Bardella, Le Pen’s protégé and the party’s public face during the campaign, criticized the electoral coalition against them as “the alliance of dishonor.” National Rally spokesman Laurent Jacobelli described the situation as a “democratic hold-up.”

Pollster Brice Teinturier noted that the “Republican front” was “even more powerful” than anticipated, suggesting that the National Rally’s attempts to sanitize its image have not entirely succeeded.

“They repel more than they attract,” observed François Heisbourg, a defense and security analyst at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. He emphasized that the closer the party gets to power, the more resistance it faces.

The National Rally’s campaign, despite being polished and strategically toned down, was marred by several controversies. Some candidates were withdrawn after media scrutiny revealed embarrassing or extremist affiliations, raising questions about the party’s vetting process.

“We made some mistakes, we acknowledge it,” said National Rally lawmaker Bruno Clavet, admitting to “casting errors” and inadequate regional party oversight.

Information for this briefing was found via CTV News, AP News, and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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