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Le Pen in final push for support as Russia questions linger

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By Anelise Borges  & Rebekah Daunt
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Marine Le Pen
Marine Le Pen   -   Copyright  Credit: AP

French far-right presidential hopeful Marine Le Pen made a final push for support among France's working-class voters in the north of the country.

Le Pen, who faces incumbent Emmanuel Macron in a run-off vote on Sunday, called for a "silent majority" to turn out and back her. 

"My friends, if the silent majority decides to come out of its silence by voting, it will triumph, it will finally stop having policies imposed on it, that ruin it, that demean it, that downgrade it," said Le Pen at the rally in Arras.

"And those who are tempted by a sterile abstention, I say to them: 'If you don't go to politics, politics will come to you, it will catch up with you, with Macron who will treat you badly for years to come. 

"What is the point of shouting Macron resign everywhere, when in three days you can fire him without having to ask permission!"

The message echoes with her supporters, who know that Le Pen has never been this close to the presidential office.

One of her supporters, housewife Charlotte Chabierski, said Le Pen is "the candidate of the people" compared to Macron.

A Le Pen victory would send shockwaves across the European Union, which she promised to radically reform if she wins power.

The candidate's relationship with Russia, however, is now under the spotlight.

“The reality of the relationship between Marine Le Pen and Vladimir Putin is that for the past 10 years since she’s been at the helm of the National Front, which became the National Rally, she has aligned all her movement’s positions with those of the Kremlin," said Camille Vigogne Le Coat, a journalist at  L’Express magazine.

"From the exit of the military command of NATO to the systematic criticism of all European sanctions against Russia, she also recognised the referendum for the independence of Crimea… a referendum that everyone in the international community has deemed illegal.”

She added the amount of money that Le Pen's party has received from Russia is not insignificant, "in total the two loans taken by MLP from Russia amount to €11 million. And a big part of these loans hasn’t been reimbursed".