France's far-right party now 'adult' and needs name change: Le Pen
11 March, 2018, 01:45 | Author: Edward Snyder
"I won't go to Lille because I don't want to become ... an accomplice to the assassination of the National Front that will be underway there", he told RTL radio.
"You're part of a worldwide movement bigger than France, bigger than Italy", Bannon told National Front supporters, denouncing central banks, central governments and "crony capitalists".
Former top Trump aide Steve Bannon told the French far right on Saturday (Mar 10) that "history is on our side" as he addressed a National Front party conference that is seeking to bounce back from crushing electoral setbacks.
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.
France's far-right National Front is holding a party congress in Lille over the weekend, with leader Marine Le Pen expected to reveal the party's new name. He was ousted from the White House past year amid tensions and stepped down as chairman of Breitbart News Network in January after a public break with Trump.
In the meantime, she emphasized that the political views of the National Front would not change; it will stand for "the defense of identity, French culture, security, the fight against immigration, and the defense of a social model, of national solidarity and especially of national sovereignty".
France's far-right leader Marine Le Pen will attempt to revive her battered party this weekend at the same conference with a proposal to ditch the tainted FN brand, seen as a key hurdle to winning power.
Steve Bannon, since getting knocked from his perch atop the populist movement propelling President Donald Trump that he claims to have architected, has packed up and taken his bluster to Europe.
Bannon also used his visit to call Le Pen's niece Marion Marechal-Le Pen one of most important people in the world, according to French media.
Marechal-Le Pen, the darling of the FN old guard, withdrew from politics a year ago but made a high-profile appearance last month at a conservative jamboree in the United States, fuelling speculation about a comeback.
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.
But party members credit Marine Le Pen with massively expanding the party's support, doubling its score from 5.5 million votes in the 2002 presidential election to 10.6 million, or nearly 34 per cent, in 2017. 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 National Front today has changed in nature.
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.
An annual poll published this week by the Kantar-Sofres-One Point firm showed Le Pen scoring lower on numerous questions.
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