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Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s far-right National Front, said she admired Vladimir Putin as much as German Chancellor Angela Merkel because the Russian president did not allow other countries to impose decisions on him. Le Pen’s anti-immigrant, Eurosceptic party scored its first nationwide poll victory in European elections last week and has since said it is close to forming a political group in the European Parliament. In an interview with German news magazine Der Spiegel, Le Pen said she had respect for leaders who defended their country’s interests and added that Merkel’s policies were good for Germany, though they would hurt others.

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