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Published: Sun, March 11, 2018
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

New name on agenda of Le Pen's far-right party

New name on agenda of Le Pen's far-right party

"Welcome to Steve Bannon who will address the National Front tomorrow at our congress and will meet Marine Le Pen".

His appearance Saturday comes as Marine Le Pen aims to revive the National Front nine months after she was defeated by Emmanuel Macron in the presidential election. "Let them call you racists". Let them call you xenophobes. "Wear it as a badge of honor".

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. "I think President Trump has been pretty straightforward in saying, hey, when we first started, some of these advisers are what he would call globalists", said Bannon.

Bannon added that the pivot was partly in order to prepare for the upcoming midterm elections.

Despite being ousted from his White House post past year and feuding with Trump in recent months, Bannon praised the president's "economic nationalism" that he said "does not care about your race, your religion, your ethnicity".

Speaking of Cohn's resignation from the White House, Bannon later gave reporters his take on the former economic adviser's recent departure from Trump's circle - as well as the increasing number of outgoing staffers.

The former Goldman Sachs investment banker, who was ousted from the White House past year and stepped down as chairman of Breitbart News Network in January, has visited Switzerland - he gave his first European speech in Zurich earlier in the week - and Italy, where voters last Sunday elected a parliament dominated by anti-immigrant populists.

Le Pen is promoting a new name, a new leadership structure and new bylaws for the National Front at the two-day congress with the hope her party can become relevant again in France. 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. Let them call you nativist.

But Bannon might have threatened Le Pen's makeover with his compliments for an extreme version of the National Front and lavish praise for Le Pen's more hard-line niece and rival.

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.

As FN president, she said she would propose a new name for the party at its conference on Sunday.

Le Pen is seeking to make over her struggling party after her failed presidential bid past year.

"They don't understand that we defend the same ideas, in the education field for her and in politics for me", she said.

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