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Trump former strategist Steve Bannon addresses France's far-right party congress

11 March, 2018, 01:45 | Author: Kristen Ingram
  • Le Pen proposes far-right rebranding

As FN president, she said she would propose a new name for the party at its conference on Sunday.

But Bannon might have threatened Le Pen's makeover with his compliments for an extreme version of the National Front and lavish praise for Le Pen's more hard-line niece and rival.

"Let them call you racists, let them call you xenophobes, let them call you nativists, wear it as a badge of honor", Bannon told members of the anti-mass immigration party in video published by The Washington Post.

Former White House strategist Steve Bannon on Saturday told supporters of France's far-right Front National party to not be embarrassed by their history, as it is "on our side and will bring us victory", the Guardian reports.

"Today's politics can not be summed up by the left-right divide".

"Welcome to Steve Bannon who will address the National Front tomorrow at our congress and will meet Marine Le Pen".

According to Le Pen, the party "must acquire the culture of alliances, acquire the culture of a government party", and "changing the name is one of the ways to make it known".

Bannon was himself a high-profile departure from the White House last August and was written off by Trump earlier this year, who named him "sloppy Steve", following the publication in January of incendiary comments attributed to him.

Speaking in Paris before Bannon's address, former party head Jean-Marie Le Pen, from whom Marine took over the leadership in 2011, dubbed the American's visit "paradoxical" and "not exactly the definition of "de-demonisation" his daughter has sought to give the party.

"Our dear President Trump said: 'We've had enough of globalists, '" he said.

A new name, a new leadership structure and new bylaws are being unveiled at the two-day congress in Lille with the hope the anti-immigration party can become relevant again.

At the conference in Lille, in the FN's northern heartlands, Le Pen will urge the party to move away from the mindset of being a permanent opposition, ground it has occupied since it was founded, to broadening its appeal with a view to governing.

This week Le Pen seemed heartened by the strong gains made by the allied anti-immigrant League party in Italy's general election, hailing it as a "new stage in the awakening of the people".

At home, she is banking on divisions between pro-Macron centrists and rightwingers tearing his party apart, making the FN France's biggest party of the right. Jean-Marie Le Pen also is to be scratched from the party's books along with his title of honorary president-for-life, formally closing, if not ending, a bitter father-daughter feud. It won more seats in the European Parliament than any other French party in 2014. She bowed out of politics after her aunt's presidential defeat, but is expected to come back in a new role.



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