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

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

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

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.

Bannon has already spoken in Zurich, Switzerland at an event organized by a conservative publication, and on Saturday headlined the annual conference for France's National Front.

"Let them call you racists, xenophobes or whatever else, wear these like a medal".

Yesterday, the party's deputy president Louis Aliot, tweeted: "Welcome to Steve Bannon who will address the Front National tomorrow at our congress and will meet Marine Le Pen".

His arrival in Paris comes as the far-right giant of French politics is in a slump.

The new moniker, if approved by members during a mail-in vote, will mark the ultimate break with Le Pen's father, who has called the idea a betrayal.

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". But the two had a bitter falling out and Bannon was sacked last August, though he continued to speak with the president and tried to promote his "America First" agenda.

Le Pen's young and ambitious niece Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, who claims to have withdrawn temporarily from politics, is also biding her time.


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.

Le Pen defended inviting Bannon to the meeting, saying it was important to listen to the man who was "the architect of Donald Trump's victory" and has written about globalization, protectionism and giving to regular people the power that "has been practically illegally captured by the elite". 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.

Ten months ago, the party was on a high after Le Pen saw off the Socialist candidate to take the FN into the second round of the presidential election with unprecedented support, though not enough to defeat Macron.

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.

An election next year for members of the European Union's lawmaking arm will be the National Front's first chance to test its rebranding strategy.

The outcome of Italy's election last weekend has energized France's far right.

Recent polling showed that 55% of respondents don't want Le Pen to run in the next election.

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