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Bannon tells French far-right: 'history is on our side'
11 March 2018, 01:13 | Franklin Nunez
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National Front leader Marine Le Pen will meet Bannon at her party's convention in the French city of Lille on Saturday, her partner Louis Aliotsaid in a tweet.
Le Pen, running as the only candidate for National Front president, said the changes amount to a "cultural revolution" so the reshaped party can "implant itself, create alliances and govern".
The party is expected to unveil a new name as it searches for more voters and relevance in a political landscape transformed by President Emmanuel Macron, a centrist who defeated Le Pen in France's election last May.
Further humiliation is in store for the 89-year-old Jean-Marie Le Pen when the party votes to strip him of his role as honorary president, severing his last formal link to the movement he co-founded and led for almost four decades.
Observers said the party may keep the word "national" in a future label with "Rassemblement national" (national assembly) a putative alternative. "Wear it as a badge of honour because every day we get stronger and they get weaker". Le Pen's performance in a pre-election debate with Macron was widely seen as a decisive factor in her defeat, along with the party's focus on abandoning the euro currency instead of core themes such as cracking down on what she calls "massive and surging immigration".
The anti-establishment former head of Breitbart News has repeatedly expressed support for Europe's far right movements. "Let them call you xenophobes".
"The tide of history is with us and it will compel us to victory after victory, after victory", Bannon told a receptive crowd.
She has long sought to "de-demonize" the party by moving away from its racist past, but Le Pen's own father complained that Bannon was the "most radical" of Trump's advisers, saying Saturday's invitation "is not exactly the definition of 'de-demonization'". Let them call you nativists.
"Let them call you racist". That figure presents a striking contrast with the 34 percent of the popular vote that Le Pen won in the presidential election, and her party can not be labeled the opposition. 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.
The outcome of Italy's election last week has energised France's far right after the Five Star Movement and the anti-immigration League beat the traditional parties. Steve Bannon has given a big boost to French far right leader Marine Le Pen, telling a cheering crowd at a congress of her National Front party that "history is on our side".
His arrival in Paris comes as the far-right giant of French politics is in a slump.
An election next year for members of the European Union's lawmaking arm will be the National Front's first chance to test whether its rebranding strategy leads to a comeback.
Bannon's visit to France was his latest stop on a tour of European countries, which has included Switzerland and Italy.
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