Bannon to France's Far Right National Party: 'History Is on Our Side'


Marine Le Pen will try to shore up her damaged leadership of the National Front by relaunching the party under a new, less sulphurous name.

While Le Pen is facing no immediate threat of overthrow - she is expected to be re-elected unopposed as party president - her father, Jean-Marie, who was thrown out of the FN for racist remarks, continues to snipe from the sidelines.

National Front leader Marine Le Pen is working to unite her divided party and bolster her ability to lead it as the party meets for the first time since she lost resoundingly to Emmanuel Macron in the final round of the French presidential election last May. A new leadership structure and new bylaws are also being unveiled at the two-day congress.

Her party - widely seen as the alternative to Macron during the election - then fared poorly in France's legislative elections: in a parliament of 577 seats, the National Front now holds only eight.

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

Le Pen defended inviting Bannon, saying party members should listen to "the architect of Donald Trump's victory" in 2016.

Le Pen has long sought to "de-demonize" her party by distancing it from its origins.

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".

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Since taking over the National Front's presidency in 2011, Le Pen has worked to erase the footprint of her father - who has convictions for racism and anti-Semitism - to broaden the party's appeal.

Now, she must backpedal to undo errors of her own.

The outcome of Italy's election last weekend has energized France's far right. The showing of the League, a National Front ally, "is a new step in the awakening of the people", Le Pen tweeted.

Party members supported legalised euthanasia, which Le Pen opposes, favour of gay marriage and are against the death penalty, she said.

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 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".

However, Len Pen's credibility is among the potential obstacles to a possible far-right comeback. The percentage of respondents who agreed she would make a good president fell to 16 percent, an eight-point drop from 2017.

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