French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen will be visiting Moscow on Friday, a country whose leader she admires and which has been at the center of allegations of interference in the current French election campaign via media outlets.
Russian news agencies reported of an invitation from Leonid Slutsky, head of the parliamentary foreign affairs committee, to meet Russian lawmakers.
Last year Le Pen, one of the front-runners in France’s presidential election, said she, US President Donald Trump and Putin “would be good for world peace” and she has taken a foreign policy line strongly supportive of Moscow.
While most mainstream political groups in Europe have condemned Russia in connection with the Ukraine conflict, Le Pen has said the EU provoked the crisis by threatening Russia’s interests.
Le Pen’s ties to Russia have been subject to intense scrutiny. Her party took a 9-million-euro loan from a Moscow-based bank in 2014. Senior National Front figures have been frequent visitors to Moscow, according to diplomats.
About Marine Le Pen
Marion Anne Perrine Le Pen, known as Marine Le Pen, is a French lawyer and politician. She is the president of the National Front (FN) political party in France. She is the youngest daughter of long-time FN leader Jean-Marie Le Pen and the aunt of FN MP Marion Maréchal-Le Pen.
Le Pen joined the National Front in 1986 and has been elected as a regional councillor (1998–present), a Member of European Parliament (2004–present), and a municipal councilor in Hénin-Beaumont (2008–2011). She was a candidate for the leadership of the FN in 2011 and won with 67.65% of the votes, defeating her opponent Bruno Gollnisch and succeeding her father Jean-Marie Le Pen who was president of the FN for nearly forty years. In 2012, she placed third in the presidential election with 17.90% of the vote, behind François Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy. She has launched a second presidential bid for the upcoming French Presidential elections, scheduled for April 2017.
She expelled her father from the party on 20 August 2015 after new controversial statements.
She has also relaxed some political positions of the party, advocating for civil unions for same-sex couples instead of her party’s previous opposition to legal recognition of same-sex partnerships, accepting unconditional abortion and withdrawing the death penalty from her platform.
Le Pen was ranked among the most influential people in 2011 and 2015 by the Time 100. In 2016, she was ranked as second-most influential MEP in the European Parliament by Politico, just behind the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz.
Source: Reuteurs / Wikipedia