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Show Must Go On: Steve Bannon Set to Address French National Front

Show Must Go On: Steve Bannon Set to Address French National Front

The proposal she plans to make at the party congress Sunday symbolizes the ongoing makeover to rescue the National Front from the political netherworld it plummeted into after Le Pen lost last year's presidential election to Emmanuel Macron.

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.

"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". The populist 5-Star Movement and the anti-immigration League both outdid traditional parties.

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.

"Right or left doesn't mean anything and doesn't reflect the real division in France today which is between those who feel the nation is an obstacle and those who feel the nation is a jewel to be defended", she said.

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

Le Pen came to Lille vowing to ditch the tainted FN brand, seen as a key hurdle to winning power, in favour of an as yet unannounced new name. 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 said the FN had two central aims: "to defend the identity, culture and security of the French involving the fight against immigration" and defending "France's social model and sovereignty".

All eyes instantly turned to her glamorous niece, 28-year-old former MP Marion Marechal-Le Pen.

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

Le Pen, the only candidate for National Front president, says the changes amount to a "cultural revolution" so the reshaped party can "implant itself, create alliances and govern".

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

Marine Le Pen is running unopposed for a third term and her address Sunday will see her try to turn a page on the anti-Semitic, openly racist party of her former paratrooper father. 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.

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. It won more seats in the European Parliament than any other French party in 2014.

Angela Charlton contributed in Paris.