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Front National owes €200,000

Marine Le Pen's recent poll boost has not rid the party of its struggle with debts

MARINE LE Pen's top position in opinion polls has not fixed her party's problem with debt.

A bailiffs' office in Paris has confirmed to newspaper Le Point that the Front National owes €200,000 in unpaid social charges and has already received several visits from officers.

The amount, however, is considerably less than two years ago, when the party's dismal performance in the 2007 presidential election and subsequent European elections left it around €10m in debt.

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Poll group Harris Interactive, which carried out the original opinion poll that made Marine Le Pen favourite to win the first round of the French presidential elections, has found that, even using Dominique Strauss-Kahn or François Hollande as opposition Socialist candidates, she would still win.

Website Mediapart has revealed that the polling group offered incentives to take part in the internet survey, with the chance to win €7,000.

However, François Miquet-Marty, the director of a rival pollgroup, Viavoice, said such methods were "legal, standard and no worse than others in terms of professionalism".

A bill passed unanimously by the Senate, but which the government has said it will oppose, threatens to ban all kinds of remuneration from opinion polls, as well as forcing groups to be more open about their funding and data.

Related stories:
STORY:Polls should be more transparent

The aftershock of Marine Le Pen's success in Le Parisien's opinion poll continues, with UMP MP Chantal Brunel heavily criticised yesterday for her response to the Front National's success.

Brunel told reporters that France should send all people coming from the Mediterranean area back in their boats.

The government also suffered a blow to part of its immigration strategy after backing down on plans to strip some criminals of their French nationality.

The plan was introduced by President Sarkozy last summer as a major government reform, following riots by travellers.

Photo: Front National

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