'Shocked' by Le Pen loan, Russian activist Navalny urges French to vote Macron

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Jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny on Wednesday called on French people to vote for incumbent Emmanuel Macron in this Sunday’s presidential election run-off.

In a series of Twitter posts, Navalny said Marine Le Pen’s far-right opposition party, the National Rally, had been compromised by its connections to Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

The 45-year-old politician, lawyer and activist said he was "shocked" by a nine million euro loan taken out by the party from a Russian bank in 2014.

"This is corruption – and it is a sale of political influence to Putin," denounced Navalny, who has been imprisoned in Russia since January 2021.

"This bank is a well-known money laundering agency that was created at the instigation of Putin.

“How would you like it if a French politician got a loan from the Cosa Nostra (Sicilian mafia)? Well, it’s the same.”

Great debate

Macron and Le Pen face off in a high stakes election debate Wednesday night that could prove decisive in swaying the undecided voters.

Between them, Macron and Le Pen won just 51 percent of the vote in the first round – so 49 percent of the electorate didn't vote for either.

Meanwhile leader of the hard left, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, has asked voters to "elect him prime minister" during upcoming legislative polls in June – after he placed a close third in round one of the presidentials.

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