French far-right leader Le Pen boosts campaign with bank loan

(Bloomberg) – French far-right leader Marine Le Pen has finally secured a bank loan for her financially-struggling campaign to challenge President Emmanuel Macron.

The April presidential candidate has secured a 10.6 million euro ($11.8 million) loan from a European bank, President Jordan Bardella told Agence France-Presse. of his National Rally party.

Banks have been reluctant to help fund Le Pen’s campaign, a sign that she is still seen as toxic by many companies despite her efforts to reach more moderate voters.

Earlier this week, Le Pen told Bloomberg News she could be forced to run a very low-cost campaign if she couldn’t get funding.

Marine Le Pen denounces Zemmour, her far-right rival, deeming her too extreme, even for her

Polls consistently give Macron around 25% of the vote in the first round of elections. Le Pen and another right-wing candidate, Valérie Pécresse, are vying for second place, with around 17%, according to polls. The far-right television specialist Eric Zemmour, who votes about 12%, is eating away at part of Le Pen’s and Pecresse’s electorate.

Le Pen, 53, has long complained that the new rules restrict candidates’ ability to raise funds. Since 2017, only European banks can lend money to French presidential candidates. In the past, Le Pen’s party obtained a loan of 9 million euros from a Russian company. His party is also riddled with debt.

She was beaten by Macron in the second round of elections five years ago by 33 percentage points.

Banks have their own internal parameters for considering lending. A high number of polls is usually required, as well as assurances that the candidate meets the legal requirement of 500 elected signatures.

In 2017, Macron’s campaign spent around 17 million euros compared to around 14 million for Le Pen, according to public data. The State reimburses part of the candidates’ expenses.

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