Steve Bannon Praises His 'Friend' Marine Le Pen Ahead of European Elections: 'She Does Not Need My Help to Win'

Speculation has been mounting in France over the role former U.S. presidential aide Steve Bannon is playing in the European election.

The ruling party of President Emmanuel Macron has expressed unease over Bannon's support for the leader of the far-right party Rassemblement National (National Rally), Marine Le Pen.

The head of Macron's La Republique En Marche (LREM) campaign, Stéphane Séjourné, tweeted that Bannon was behind "an attack on the sovereignty of the election... it makes you want to throw up."

Nathalie Loiseau, who heads the LREM candidate list for the elections, said, "[Bannon] does not even hide his desire to interfere in our polls."

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France's far-right party Front National (FN) president Marine Le Pen and former U.S. President advisor Steve Bannon give a joint press conference in March 2018 in Lille, north of France. He has backed Le Pen to win in the European elections. Sylvain Lefevre/Getty Images

However, Bannon insists he is in France simply "as an observer" and is not playing an active role in the election.

In an interview with the French broadcasters BFMTV and RNC, he said, "Marine Le Pen does not need my help to win. I am her friend, maybe her colleague, but she will win this election by herself," Le Figaro reported.

"Her resilience, given that she has managed to come back from her failure in 2017, and the way in which she has given a new identity to the Front National, everything that she has done in terms of leading her party, I find it quite remarkable," Bannon continued.

Since leaving the White House, Bannon has backed the European far right, keeping close contact with Le Pen and Italian populist politician Matteo Salvini.

He told the newspaper Le Parisien the French election was the most important of all the European parliament polls and that he expected it to be an "earthquake."

Le Pen denied that Bannon had been involved in her party's campaign.

"I did not even know he was in Paris for business. It has nothing to do with the campaign. It is you, the media, that are dragging him into the campaign," Le Pen told FranceInfo.

Senior Rassemblement National figure Nicolas Bay also denied that Bannon had helped them, telling AFP, "We have led this campaign in a perfectly independent way without any foreign or outside influence."

However, on Monday, Séjourné tweeted that he doubted this was true, claiming that two RN figures were spotted meeting Bannon at the Bristol Hotel in Paris.

Polls put Le Pen's party level with Macron's ahead of the ballot, which takes place on May 26.

Steve Bannon Praises His 'Friend' Marine Le Pen Ahead of European Elections: 'She Does Not Need My Help to Win' | World