Marine Le Pen, the far-right former presidential candidate and current member of the French parliament is being charged over a financial scandal. French investigators have already opened a case, with a probe into allegations that Marine Le Pen and her party, the National Front, have illegally claimed five million euros from the European Parliament to pay for work done by the National Front in France.
Le Pen and her party have denied all allegations, with Le Pen claiming the case is politically motivated. However, it would be a strange move for President Macron to risk a major political scandal shortly after handily beating Le Pen 66% to 34% in the French presidential election.
The Same Old Story
The topic has been brought up many times during the former candidate’s campaign, but Le Pen had refused to answer any questions about the allegations. She did, however, guarantee cooperation after a President had been named. A European Parliament watchdog started an investigation into the management of Le Pen’s funds in 2011 to 2012, finding that Le Pen illegally paid the Front National (FN) payroll with funds dedicated to paying assistants for purely legislative jobs. With Le Pen saying she would appeal the investigation, we are far from any court decision, with a chance the new inquiry might not bear any fruits.
It’s 2017, so we know political irony will be glaringly obvious, and Le Pen’s situation is no exception. Her party is a constant critic of the European Union, often complaining about its free-market principles. Unfortunately the 2017 mantra of “nothing matters” will continue as most National Front members you talk to will probably drop at least one conspiracy theory about the EU, so the likelihood of any FN members changing their opinions is low.
The End of Marine Le Pen?
It is possible the FN will begin to make a more centrist turn, with Le Pen promising the party would experience a “profound transformation,” including a new name. Though I would not be overly surprised if it went the other direction and the nationalist far-right party doubled down on their anti-immigration and xenophobic policies. This scandal has further embarrassed the National Front after fellow far-right politician Nicolas Dupont-Aignan announced his Arise France party would not sit in a formal group with any National Front MP’s.