France's Le Pen set to field new name for far-right party

Posted March 11, 2018

"You're part of a worldwide movement bigger than France, bigger than Italy", said Bannon. "And history is on our side", he said.

"Since last Sunday, there really is the impression that the victory of the League gave new confidence, new hope to Marine Le Pen and other leaders who see a favorable historic tendency", Camus said, citing Britain's Brexit vote and Donald Trump's presidential victory in the U.S. as similar guideposts.

His speech contained a familiar litany of attacks against global elites, Hillary Clinton and journalists.

He is to meet with the leader of France's right-wing National Front (FN) Marine Le Pen, and address the party's congress in Lille on Saturday.

The anti-establishment former head of Breitbart News has repeatedly expressed support for Europe's far right movements.

The far-right leader has praised Bannon as "the architect of Donald Trump's victory".

"We're at a turning point ... don't bury us", she said in an interview with France's Le Figaro newspaper published Friday. "I want Britain first for the British people, and I want France first for the French people".

Bannon met Marion, who temporarily withdrew from politics after her aunt's presidential election defeat last May, at the CPAC conservative conference in Maryland last month, where he said she was "absolutely electrifying". While addressing the ultra conservative political group at a gathering on Saturday, President Trump's former campaign executive turned ex-White House chief strategist told his French audience to embrace being called "racists" by their critics.

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The soap opera squabbles of the Le Pen dynasty have long kept French media in thrall.

Bannon spoke at the National Front's annual convention in the French city of Lille after traveling through Europe in recent weeks for meetings with populist leaders of various parties. The new name, to be announced tomorrow, is meant to distance the party from the toxic aura that it earned under her father, who handed her the leadership in 2011.

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen is set to propose a name change for the National Front, part of a makeover created to make the anti-immigration party relevant again after she was defeated by Emmanuel Macron in the presidential race.

Since taking over in 2011 with her father's blessing, Le Pen has embarked on a process of "de-demonising" the FN, which has involved shrugging off its xenophobic, bully-boy image.

"The National Front has become adult. its nature has changed".

Macron won with 66% of the vote vs. 34% for Le Pen, who had threatened to curb immigration and pull France out of the European Union, among other measures.

Bannon had some advice for those who might be embarrassed by such a history. You argue for your country and they call you a racist.

Warming to his theme, Bannon added: "You argue for sovereignty and they call you a nativist. Wear it as a badge of honor", he told the crowd at the party congress. Every day, we become stronger and they become weaker.