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    Marine Le Pen of France's far-right National Front (FN) political party at the opening session of the French National Assembly in Paris, France, June 27, 2017

    Le Pen Party's Fight to Restore $2.3Mln Subsidy Struggle for Democracy

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik), Sofya Grebenkina - The fight to restore 2 million euros ($2.3 million) of funding withheld from the National Rally (RN, formerly the National Front) by French judges can be considered a struggle for democracy, Nicolas Bay, the general secretary of the party, told Sputnik on Tuesday.

    "For the moment, we fight to recover our rights. It is a matter of democracy," Bay said.

    Bay stated that the withholding of public funds would greatly affect the party, as RN would struggle with continuing its daily operations.

    "Well, the seizing of public funds at the very last moment and without any condemnation does affect our party, deeply. How can we pay our employees and our suppliers? How can we launch new communication campaigns? In short, how can our party operate?" Bay said.

    READ MORE: French Judges Block $2.3Mln Subsidy for Le Pen's Party — Reports

    On Monday, Le Pen stated that the party would appeal the ruling by questioning the basis for its legality.

    Bay said that he was appealing to his supporters for additional funding to sustain the party, as other avenues of funding are less available to the RN.

    "A new law prevents us from borrowing money outside the EU and we still face hostility from French banks. For the moment, we appeal to all our voters: in May 2017, they were 11 million," Bay said.

    To this end, the RN created a website on Sunday dedicated to crowdfunding for the party.

    On Sunday, leader of the National Rally Marine Le Pen said that the examining magistrates decided to seize the sum as part of the investigation, opened in December 2016, into the RN using EU funds to pay assistants who worked only for the party, not for the European Parliament. The RN was due to receive the funding, which was allotted based on the party's performance in elections, in the coming days.

    In June, the Court of Justice of the European Union backed the European Parliament's decision to fine the RN almost 300,000 euros, or roughly $347,000, for hiring parliamentary aides and failing to prove their effectiveness.


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